Automating workflows with document management software is a great way for foundations and government organizations to save precious time and resources. Managing grant applications, reviews, delegating tasks, awards, post-award evaluations and other administrative procedures is a vital part of what keeps these enterprises running, and it allows them to provide funding and assistance for others. However, when these procedures are outdated and clogged up with paper and other manual processes, organizations can lose a time that can be far better utilized elsewhere. Many foundations exist to fund and support the work of others, but paperwork is often a significant barrier for staff members to maximize their time.

An example of such a barrier can be found in a recent article from The Washington Post, revealing the outmoded procedures that take place at Pennsylvania’s Office of Personnel Management. The main task of the staff members who work in this facility is to process retirement papers for government workers.  A picture of the office space provides a view of the many workers as they process papers by hand, without access of technological tools that could be available for them.

Another aspect of this story that you may relate with is, according to the newspaper, the need for storage. Maintaining paper-based documents takes up an enormous amount of space!  In a staggering statistic, the OPM office contains more than 28,000 filing cabinets filled with paper records.  The primary reason for this vast paper backlog legally mandated maintenance period for which certain documents must be held before they may be destroyed.

“The need for automation was clear in 1981,” James W. Morrison Jr., who formerly oversaw the retirement processing system, told The Post.

Why would the OPM choose to utilize processes that are known to create significant lags results and that are proven to be much more costly than new process tools on the market today?

Improve Inefficient Processes by Going Digital

When it comes to eliminating inefficiencies, cloud based process improvement, application and document management solutions are proven to have enormous benefits for all types of grant making and government organizations. According to an article in Hybrid Business Advisors, digitizing and automating administrative processes can free up time and money that can be put to better use in other areas. A study from Coopers and Lybrand cited by the website found that office employees spend roughly 15 percent of their time looking for paper documents. How much does that mean for every organization when calculating the salaries of employees involved in paper or manual process management?

Paper and manual application and document processes, in addition to consuming valuable time, storage space, and money that could be spent elsewhere, also cause organization to continue utilizing high cost technology items like printers, fax machines, mail sorters and copiers. While organizations may not be able to entirely eliminate this equipment, reducing its use can save costs related to toner, ink and paper.

Other than the importance of saving valuable time (which we all could use) and cutting inefficient costs to save the bottom line, one of the greatest aspects of going digital is that you gain far greater abilities when it comes to performing your duties.  Taking the step to move to a cloud based process allows you and your organization access to a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to process improvement.  In most cases, all the things you’ve wished your paper process would do is available through the use of the proper technological tools.

For organizations that give their time to improve the lives of others, it’s time to improve your process, enhance your office workflows, increase you capabilities, and shred the paper process.