General, Momentum Digital Transformation

Add Value by Digitizing a Paper Archive

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

by Thomas Seibold

Archive with files

In many companies, there are still paper archives that have reached the zenith of the legal obligation to retain documents, or have often even significantly exceeded it. There, documents lay dormant for years in a kind of Sleeping Beauty slumber, from which they are only awakened by pitiful interns, only to end up in the shredder as part of an ad hoc operation.

With the destruction, however, the information stored there is also lost, and with it valuable knowledge. Because often there are not only invoices in the archive.

Old Records as a Source of Information

The digitization of pure archive documents brings numerous advantages. Not only can old paper archives be finally dissolved, but the information they contain can also be added to a cloud-based knowledge base. Practical application examples of this can be found above all in industrial companies: Manuals, operating instructions and documented maintenance reports can be captured, processed and made available both internally and externally with modern machine learning technologies.

Reduce Costs and Carbon Footprint

The gradual dissolution and digitization of the paper archive reduces real space requirements and eliminates the need to manage premises. The ongoing costs for rent, heating and, if necessary, security can be saved – especially in times of crisis – and better invested. The German Federal Environment Agency has examined the environmental impact of cloud services and comes to the conclusion across a range of digital applications that in some cases significant CO2 savings can be achieved. Likewise, the french consulting company Capgemini also sees cloud-based IT architectures as having an advantage in terms of CO2 footprint.

Digitizing Paper Archives: The End of Paper

Transferring analog documents to a modern, cloud-based enterprise content management system is not rocket science. After taking stock of the relevant documents, they are scanned, categorized and stored in the new cloud archive with keywords. Companies can then make them available online to employees, customers and partners and benefit from faster processes and lower costs when searching for information. Digitizing the legacy archive will then also put an end to the mounting heaps of paper.