How Your Town or City Can Go Paperless
Step 1: Simplify your Documentation Processes
Unless your existing paper trail is relatively simple to follow, you’ll have a difficult time creating a paperless version. For this reason, it’s essential to take stock of your paperwork and documentation, and make some important decisions about what can go, and what needs to stay. Make everything as straightforward as possible before committing your office to taking on a brand new, high-tech style of administration.
Step Two: Choose your Technology Carefully
There are several options when it comes to technology, but the best choice is one that everyone can understand and use easily. Of course, you need to keep the budget in mind when making this decision as well as ease of use. Consider the type of devices that you and your staff are already proficient in using – smart phones, iPads? Not only will this make the training phase much simpler, but it could also save you money if you decide to let staff members use their existing devices.
You’ll also need to make some decisions about the type of software and networking you want throughout the office. For example, would you prefer new documents to be created and saved within Google Drive, Dropbox, or another application? Do a quick trial run before making your final choice.
Step Three: Do a Trial Run
Once you have chosen which type of device to work with, and chosen a good software platform, it’s time to try out your new documentation process. Create a network profile for each member of staff so that they can all log in and out of the system, then test it by sending messages and documents between them. Conduct a series of tests using various profiles and each type of software.
Step Four: Convert Hard Copies to Digital
Just because all future documents will be created in a digital environment doesn’t mean that you won’t need to refer back to older ones from time to time. Again, you’ll have to use your best judgement when it come to choosing between files that need converting and those that can simply be put into storage. Scan each document into a file that is viewable by relevant staff members, and if applicable, have them uploaded onto the website.