By Gloria Lombardi

paper-315772_960_720How far have companies truly embraced the opportunities offered by the digital revolution? Let’s take one innate aspect of office life – paper!

The fact that the phrase ‘paperless office’ has survived over many decades would seem to suggest the most ubiquitous piece of workplace stationary is very much here to stay. Or maybe not.

One Paper Lane is on a mission to help firms reap the benefits of digital technology. Its innovative cloud-based platform enables organisations around the world to automate and digitise content and business processes.

It enables workers to go digital, easily. Using machine learning and predictive analytics, it replaces printing, filling, signing and scanning to make approvals and decisions digitally. Fundamentally, it turns the hassle of completing multiple paper forms and documents into one easy-to-use tool which automatically digitalises forms and documents of any type. Its fluid workflow replaces filing cabinets in seconds and uses powerful search and discovery tools to easily find information, collaborate and manage a business more effectively. m

In an era where the rise of artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation is relentless, One Paper Lane’s founder and CEO Gaurav Mirchandani (pictured right), explains that “The successful companies of tomorrow will provide their employees with the freedom of a digital office, all without the traditional expense and development required of older bulky enterprise applications.”

Providing the freedom of a digital-paperless office

kave-638252_960_720Mirchandani cites recent research by EY which suggests that 47% of occupations in advanced economies are at high risk of being automated in the next 20 years. IDC and McKinsey Global also assert that improved communication and collaboration through social technologies could raise the productivity of interaction workers by 20 – 25%. And, according to Gartner, algorithms will take digital businesses to the next level. In fact, they predict that by 2020, a customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human.

So, for Mirchandani the question is, “How do you digitalise your content and make sure that employees are also becoming digital? How do you ensure that they have a pleasant digital experience that allow them to be productive?”

With that in mind, he wanted One Paper Lane to provide companies with a secure and connected digital experience enabled platform that is available to employees in the cloud 24×7. Ultimately, making doing business easier, cost effective and more convenient by never printing or filling a document manually again.

On the platform employees can send any document or form for instant completion in seconds. They can have real-time collaboration, access real-time reports and actionable analytics, have a secure repository for all the completed forms and documents as well as track action items, requirements, tasks, and business processes.


Spend time with people, not paper

As of September 2016, One Paper Lane have users in various industry verticals – from banking and financial services to hospitality and restaurants, luxury good and retail, technology services, professional services and real estate.

A good example of its use comes from a global travel company. They had around 2,000 employees in six countries. They wanted to digitise their Human Resources processes starting with the on-boarding process. Mirchandani explains that the company had the challenge of hiring 300 employees in one month. However, they only hired 3% of them. So, they decided to speed up the process. They used One Paper Lane to send all the documents to the potential hires for their interviews and post interviews. They started to communicate and collaborate with them virtually. Once the potential hires completed their online profile, the algorithm automatically grabbed their data and filled in all the relevant forms which the workers had sent in seconds. Both the company and the potential hires could track progress, approve, and manage the forms and documents, send alerts and reminders, all from one dashboard. The system allowed them to automatically grab and visualise everything that mattered by combining status of completion, missing information, and other juicy data into robust and easy to understand reports.

Ultimately, the entire on-boarding process completed in minutes rather than hours.

Lately, the travel company decided to continue its digital transformation by automating their Security Policy, Procurement and Vendor Management.

“The result was more than just employee happiness. It was cost-saving, and it was efficiency. Plus, credibility.”

In fact, Mirchandani likes to remind us that “we live in a world where employees can go to their friends and say, ‘Did you know that I was hired within twenty minutes of walking into that office? Just by using an iPad versus bringing my paper CV. I did not need to bring any reference letter, or fill in some insurance documents, send them back to the company and wait for days to hear back’.” Indeed, for him that is old management school.


Overcoming the challenges to digital transformation

One of the underlying problems of digital transformation, according to Mirchandani, has been the fear of cost.

“When you hear the term digital transformation, some companies think that it takes some heavy weight products. There is no such thing. By using a cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tool, the digital transformation size of the expense is reduced by 50%. Because the platform is lightweight and easy to use.”

In fact, he believes that employee training should focus more on enabling thought processes that encourage staff to be digital. As opposed to training on the software itself. It should allow workers to understand the impact of digital transformation on their work and on the organisation’s goals. “The most successful products make good investment in User Interface (UI), User Experience (UX) and simplicity. So the training is not required and the worker should be able to seamlessly use the platform.” For example, because businesses gets more mobile every day, One Paper Lane provides them with  an automated digital solution that is easily distributed across the entire business environment. By storing data locally on individual iPads, smartphones, and tablets, employees can continue to work on the platform even when they can’t find a mobile signal.

But, education is still needed around thought leadership, about people embracing digital, and what that means to them and to the business. “Chief Information Officers (CIOs), globally, are creating Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) – they are in charge of creating this digital experience inside the organisation.”

In short, whether it is robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), or Machine Learning, automation is impacting on the way people do business and interact with each other, “which requires new ways of leading and managing both the content and the people.”


Automation is not such a bad thing

As automation continues to grow, there are some fair concerns from the public around people losing their jobs, being replaced by a machine. But, Mirchandani is positive about the transition and believes that “it is about how you embrace and manage the change.”

“It is about questioning the technology as an enabler to a better working experience. Employees need to welcome digital transformation and learn how it affects the business and their working lives”.

So, instead of looking at automation as a negative thing, he would view it along the line of staying ahead of the game: “Digital is having a real impact on many business environments, by influencing business models, employee behaviors, front, middle and back office operations and global supply chains.”

Indeed, for him it is no brainer: “The future of work is digital and it is all about collaboration. It is about working together to be more productive by using the best technology.”