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Paper Cut

Is the world finally ready for a paperless office? Not yet, but we're close.

This story appears in the March 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Imagine a business world completely devoid of paper. No stacks of the stuff cluttering desks. No filing cabinets brimming with invoices dating back several years--or more. No yellow stickies clinging to computer screens. This was the promise of the paperless office, which would rely solely on electronic means to generate, organize and retrieve business materials previously bound to paper. Most of us have given up this dream, realizing it's not realistic to wean our employees--let alone ourselves--off paper. And, let's face it, some processes just work better with a good old pad and pen.

There is a continuing movement, however, toward implementing more paperless activities around the office. By creating what's known as an electronic document management system, companies convert many paper materials, such as business documents and faxes, into electronic versions. In its new electronic document or database format, the information is easily accessible to employees across a network.

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