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The Future Is Digital – And Not Just For Retro Football Magazines

By Expert Author: Donald Nason

An article posted at the beginning of the month reported on an interesting, if rather novel, way of introducing a magazine’s readership to online perusing.

The Leeds publisher, media73 Ltd, produced a half-print, half-digital magazine. Once readers reached the back page of Sixty6 they were given instructions to go to the magazine website to read the rest of the edition, with the publishing aim of having future issues of the retro football publication totally digital.

According to the Bdaily Business News article, Sixty6 editor in chief, Mal Robinson, said, “We decided the best way to entice the reader online is to offer them a slice of traditional media to send the message about the future, which is digital."

We talk a lot about the benefits of moving from a paper-based system. By removing paper and manual processing from business operations organisations can reduce costs, improve efficiency and enhance business control, while automated systems can also help achieve legal compliance.

This month AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) included the following statements in the introduction to their research report Winning the Paper Wars: “Fighting the paper invasion is a constant battle for any organization... Almost all business improvement initiatives can be augmented by a paper-free project.”

A key finding of AIIM’s research is that, on average, organisations anticipate that moving to paper-free processing will lead to an improvement in processing staff productivity of 29.7 percent – and this figure increases to a 35.4 percent greater productivity prediction among organisations with experience of running paper-free systems.

The finance processing mentors PayStream Advisors have released a preview of their Invoice and Workflow Automation Benchmark Report 2013 detailing the results of a survey looking at the views of AP (Accounts Payable) professionals. Their second main point highlights:

• The majority of invoices received in paper format remain the number one challenge in the invoice management process – 50 percent. Manual data entry and inefficient processes ranked second with 37 percent.

In addition to the advantages and benefits of moving from a paper-based to an automated system asoutlined above, organisations regularly report a return on investment of 6 to 12 months when implementing an invoice management system.

The same Winning the Paper Wars report from AIIM also puts the Accounts Payable (AP) department among the top three business areas organisations want to move to paper-free – although that is often only the start of the change to automation. With a modular document management solution, organisations can automate processing within specific departments or across a whole business, investing in modules as and when they’re needed.

A major recommendation of the AIIM report is that, “To fight the paper wars, managers need to take the up-front decision that paper-free is the way to go, and mould that into key business initiatives and process re-design.”

So here’s to the digital future!

And I’d love to know how media73’s half-and-half idea worked out and whether their Sixty6 readers came to the back page and dutifully reached for their PCs, laptops or smartphone to read the rest of the issue – although I guess the approach is not that much different to that of serialising a story, just requiring turning to another medium rather than the next edition – and if that was good enough for Dickens...

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