Forty-Six Percent of SMB Business Content Today is Still on Paper

According to a recent InfoTrends small- and mid-size business (SMB) report, U.S. Office Primary Research Study, 46 percent of business content still remains on paper. However, businesses are said to be “moving along the digital transformation path, if at a slower pace than larger enterprises as they are more worried about the cost of conversion.”

The InfoTrends study found that cost was the number one hurdle associated with converting to digital processes. SMBs’ main cost concerns are training, time constraints, legal requirements, and IT resources.  Survey results also found that 32 percent of SMB decision makers indicted a preference for paper for business processes. This was most prevalent in the manufacturing, education, and professional-services sectors.

What are the major hurdles to converting paper processes to digital?

According to InfoTrends, as far as initiatives or policies to reduce paper are concerned, those SMBs surveyed have mostly shifted to simple digital processes, such as sharing document internally and externally through e-mail and document collaboration via document repositories, or default printing on both sides of a document. While more complex digital processes such as the use of digital signatures or an internal mandate to reduce the use of paper “are up and coming,” they don’t yet play a dominant role with these SMBs yet.

InfoTrends notes that SMBs provide the largest opportunity in North America to sell office equipment, yet the user group is behind enterprises in the digital-transformation path. The good news is that vendors can learn from adoption processes for enterprises and adapt these for SMBs.

This is a just a sampling of the survey findings within the SMB environment. A more detailed analysis of InfoTrends’ key findings can be found here.

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