Look around at the mess of paper that surrounds you. If you collected all that paper into one, neat stack, how tall would it be? 

Stay with us, there's a point behind this.

Suburban London-based Margolis, a document management vendor, decided to try to quantify the document management problem by answering this question. Based on its calculations, the average size company in Europe needs to store 1.3 million pages — a task which will take 130 four-drawer filing cabinets, assuming each drawer can hold 2,500 pages.

Simply stacked, how high would those papers stand? Higher than we have space to show you, but you can get a visual idea here.

Paper, Paper Everywhere

"While people talk about 'going paperless,' and many believe that they could in fact do so within the not-to-distant future, huge numbers of businesses are reluctant to do so,” said Richard Shaw, Margolis sales director and joint owner.

“The problem, from our experience, is that many still remain unaware of how paper-dependent they are. They’re impervious to the hard-numbers, so we wanted to penetrate this with something much more visual.”

Hence the How Tall is Your Paper Problem infographic.

Margolis estimates the paper problem is worse in the UK than in Europe overall. Based on its estimates, 1 in 8 European enterprises use a document management systems. But only 1 in 20 do the same in the UK.

There are several reasons for this, including higher environmental taxes on companies that fail to adopt paperless processes in mainland Europe, Shaw said. In addition, in competitive economies like Germany, organizations are constantly thinking about efficiencies and workflows, and how information is managed is an obvious starting point, he continued.

“This has created a snowball effect in Europe. Organizations have to invest in electronic workflows and EDM to maintain and increase efficiencies to keep up with or stay ahead of their competitors.”

Shaw thinks the longstanding addiction to paper will eventually subside now that more and more individuals and business are sending and receiving information in electronic format.