The Paperless(?) Office
1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the paperless office?
There are many advantages to having a paperless office. One advantage is that companies are able to greatly reduce the amount of paper that they use. Not only does this help the environment, it helps cut costs within the organization. Companies are also able to improve service through implementing the paperless office. This is because communication is immediate and does not get lost in a pile of papers on someone’s desk. A paperless office can also save the company money. This can be seen in the example of Washington Mutual Savings Bank of Seattle. The bank automated more than one-hundred different forms and estimates that they are saving upwards of one million per year.
One disadvantage to having a paperless office is the issue security. How does a company make sure that only the eyes the document is intended for, are the only eyes that see it? Also how does a company know an electronic communication is authentic? Another issue is privacy. How does a company make sure that when an electronic communication is sent only the person it is intended for will read it? How does a company make sure private information does not make the evening news?
2. Are certain types of information more readily amenable to digital processing in a paperless office than others? If so, why; if not, why not?
It would seem that some types of information are better in paperless form, while some are not. Implementing an e-mail system can do wonders for companies. The e-mail sessions allow managers to get more information across to the employees and vice versa. This is a way to make sure everyone will access to the same information. A paperless office is a good way to send and receive reports.
Another area that is conducive to a paperless office is such companies that put large volumes of books and papers on CD-ROM. A single CD-ROM can hold a whole room full of books. This cuts down on the physical space a company must devote to paper storage.
3. How might book publishing change as the technology of the paperless office continues to develop? Will books become obsolete? Why or why not?
The book publishing industry will have to grow and change in relation to the changing technology. As the paperless office gains more and more popularity, one will begin to see more and more documents being on CD-ROM and also on the Internet. The CD-ROM’s are cost effective, paper reducing, and easy to manufacture.
In the near future what will probably happen is that publications will be produced in both paper and in some type of electronic media. I see sort of phasing, similar to that if the cassette tape going to the compact disc. For the meantime most everyone has gone the way of compact discs, but there are still the ones who prefer cassette tapes for whatever reason. For this reason I don’t think we will see the deletion of printed books, but we will begin to see more and more on some type of electronic media.
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