While business objectives vary greatly among industries and companies, there’s one priority that tops everyone’s list: Improving return on investment (ROI).

In today’s metrics-driven digital landscape, it’s worthwhile to evaluate if antiquated document processes are hindering you from maximizing your productivity, effectiveness and overall success.

Whether you have a comprehensive digital transformation plan or are just beginning to transition to digital workflows, there are a variety of easy-to-implement elements that can help you cut costs and strategize smarter.

When executed properly, these seemingly small adjustments can translate to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings every year — a significant ROI that can be reallocated to fund more business-building programs and initiatives.

Go Paperless

There’s no denying that the paperless movement is a hot-button issue right now. In fact, 70 percent of IT leaders consider paper to be a continued organizational obstacle, according to a survey my company recently conducted.

While many people typically laud paperless offices for the part they play in sustainability — a significant achievement in its own right — these offices should also be recognized for the money-saving opportunities they create.

Reduced Costs, Less Waste

The transition from a paper-based environment to digital workflows eliminates the need for a fleet of printers, copiers and scanners, as well as their costly accompaniments like paper, toner and ink cartridges.

The decrease in paper output also reduces the amount of physical waste your company creates, a small change that can have a big impact on both your company’s expenses and the environment.

On a more personal note, paperless offices save valuable time for employees across the organization.

Greater Efficiencies

Inc. magazine recently quantified the cost of paper inefficiencies. According to the magazine, the time it takes to file a single paper document can cost the company $20, while the time-intensive search to locate a misfiled document translates to a $120 deficit.

Should the document be permanently lost, the company can see a further $250 hit in order for employees to recreate the document.

Given that the average knowledge worker uses more than 10,000 pieces of paper every year, these costs can quickly and silently accumulate into substantial losses for your business.

Couple these losses with the time it takes to accomplish common tasks, such as walking to and from the printer, scanning a document, or, heaven forbid, unjamming a printer (we’ve all been there), and you have seemingly small inefficiencies that can cost the company in a big way.

Now compare these difficulties to their digital counterparts. Locating a file that’s simply been dropped into the wrong folder is as simple as typing a few words into a search bar, while digital storage means that a document is rarely ever truly lost.

In today’s world, digital workflows prove the adage that “time is money” through greater productivity, performance, and overall revenue.

Collaborate More Effectively

Anyone who’s ever worked in an office knows that hiring skilled talent is paramount to the company’s success.

But when your document solutions aren’t allowing for optimal collaboration, the knowledge and expertise of your entire workforce isn’t being maximized to its full potential.

Our own research shows more than 50 percent of IT leaders face challenges stemming from inconsistent workflows and collaboration processes, while 35 percent grapple with a lack of visibility into document activity, such as sharing, viewing, and editing.

Seamless Teamwork

Digital transformation enables workers across every department, from marketing and sales to product and engineering, to work together easily and efficiently.

Technology-services provider CDW explored the fiscal benefits of collaboration in a survey of 1,242 IT professionals. Its findings show that 88 percent of cloud users pointed to cost savings and 56 percent agree that cloud services have helped them boost profits.

By implementing a digital workflow across your entire organization, you can improve productivity and efficiency both on a daily and long-term level — whether it’s simplifying how your teams edit, share, review, sign or track a document, or eliminating collaboration inconsistencies by ensuring that your entire workforce is equipped with the most effective tools to get the job done.

Meet Your Customers on the Digital Horizon

Although paper-based systems have defined commerce in the past, the future of the business world lies in digitization.

McKinsey published a report earlier this year detailing this new age of digital globalization. In its study, the consulting firm described that cross-border bandwidth has surged 45-fold since 2005, drawing the conclusion that “for companies, countries and individuals everywhere…the opportunities created by digital flows, beckon, waiting to be seized.”

This shouldn’t be news to us. In fact, we see it every day — from ordering dinner with the tap of a finger to the seemingly limitless fountain of knowledge available online.

We’ve embraced the digital world in virtually every area of our personal lives, so isn’t it time we bring our business there too?

Well, that’s what your customers expect.

Avoid Becoming Irrelevant in a Digital World

Companies that fail to implement digital technology risk becoming irrelevant to an ever-growing network of consumers. In a corporate landscape saturated with competition at every turn, this discrepancy can be the deciding factor between winning new business, retaining customers, and driving revenue.

In many ways, the consumer eagerness to use digital services also represents a huge opportunity for businesses.

For example, when individual consumers read a mailed newsletter or visit a brick-and-mortar store, you have limited insight into their behavior or interests. But, when a customer downloads your document or visits multiple pages on your website, they are leaving a digital trail of breadcrumbs.

The data sourced from this behavior allows you to optimize your resources more efficiently while making more informed decisions about what your customers want. Not only can these data sets lead to a better customer experience and an increase in customer acquisition and retention, it also opens new avenues to scale your business across the country and the globe.

Regardless of how you choose to apply these practices and their ensuing savings, a simple truth remains: Every dollar and moment preserved is one that can be optimized to further increase revenue, productivity and performance — and isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Title image by Tim Gouw