Restore Records Management has launched a campaign for physical data to be given more respect and warns that the UK’s “paperless dream” needs to be reviewed.
The company says that the country has been chasing digital transformation for years, with large numbers of businesses going fully digital and reaping the benefits but that the idea that all companies across all sectors will be paper free in the near future, and that physical records could soon be extinct, has proved way wide of the mark, adding it fears that a dismissive attitude towards data stored on paper is having a negative effect.
In fact, says Restore “it is leading to some businesses wasting money by scanning records they will never need and causing others to under-value their physical inventory”.
Nigel Dews, Managing Director, of Restore Records Management explained: “There are a lot of sneers when it comes to physical data, and we think it’s about time someone stood up and fought its corner.
“If you look around, we are nowhere near living in a paperless world. Millions of businesses still have a physical inventory and some of the biggest private sector organisations certainly fit into that category.
“In the NHS, for instance, we estimate there are still 100 million records stored in physical form in the UK alone.
“Of course, there are huge benefits to going fully digital, nobody is saying otherwise. But hybrid options are viable alternatives.
“We’ve seen many businesses spend an awful lot of money scanning every single record, many of which they will never need to retrieve. It doesn’t make sense.
“But they are convinced to do so by an agenda that says keeping records in physical form is somehow second rate and out of date. That is no longer the case.”
Technological advances now allow businesses to only digitise the records they need most often and use scan on demand services for the rest. They can also use online portals to manage their inventory and utilise optical recognition software to search through paper records.
Dews added: “The focus seems to always be on exciting digital solutions and new software launches, that’s what makes headlines. But we are seeing ‘paperlite’ solutions grow in popularity as an alternative to ‘paperless.’ Organisations have started to talk about progress rather than focusing on being fully digital. And this can often mean keeping paper as part of the mix.
“So, it’s time we talked more openly about how to optimise hybrid records management systems and give physical data a voice.
“We aren’t saying that digital transformation is a bad thing, far from it. For many businesses it is absolutely the best solution. But physical data isn’t going away any time soon – and ignoring it is both a risk and a missed opportunity.”