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In today’s digital world, will this be the last birthday card I write?

By Alyson Edmunds, Mobility Specialist, O2 Business

At O2 we have a vision to help everyone become truly digital organisations and we need to set an example by being a success ourselves and reaping the benefits of efficiency and productivity technology can bring. So where is the best place to start? Well as World Paper Free day looms, it got me thinking about my use of paper in the digital workplace.

Broadly speaking, I’d say digital technology has become so engrained in modern culture and society that virtually all of us would be at a total loss without internet access or our smartphone; and we know that it can help significantly increase productivity in both our personal and working lives too.

Yet we still see paper and note books being used alongside technology so how has digitisation changed the way we use paper?  Well, I’ve realised in the last week I’ve touched paper just once – to send a birthday card to my mum!  When I think how this compares to how many apps I’ve used today driving into the office and running a sales event – 18 – that feels incredible!

It is now far easier to go paperless.  We have the apps and tools, quite literally at our fingertips, to ensure the transition to digital is as smooth as… as a sheet of paper. And although some of us may prefer traditional methods, digitisation isn’t just about replacing an old process with a digital version. It’s about changing the way we live and work. In that sense I feel as though certain paper traditions won’t die out because they exist for a specific reason, very much like getting a physical card in the post, hand written in a very personalised way. At the same time moving to paperless in O2 Business last year, we used smartboards, handheld devices, virtual meetings and cloud-based sharing and storage tools to ensure that we can be as – if not more – productive than previously. And to me that feels like the natural evolution of a paperless environment.

Take my day today.  I had a call first thing.  I logged into my Box account and people from three different companies were updating the same document in real time.  We were all editing collaboratively on the fly. I added a non-Box user to the document and we all instantly uploaded pictures and video of the sales event, plus we made comments and captured sales leads collaboratively.  Powerful stuff especially when you realise all the changes have been tracked with a full audit trail.

Accessing applications from any device together with ubiquitous coverage and cloud storage have enabled me to transform the way I work.  One added bonus is I no longer have to hunt for ‘lost information’ and take ‘keyword search’ as a given. I read a stat that people can spend up to an hour a day searching for lost information on pieces of paper otherwise known as ‘content chaos’ – does that sound familiar?

Obviously security is a number one priority but that’s why we have mobile device management and security solutions for phones and tablets as robust as the security for any desktops in our business.  And why we use a platform such as Box where there is access control to documents and folders, and the full audit capability is a massive plus.  Both in-house, and working with our customers who are embracing paperless, we have identified key tools and apps to enable us to work smarter and save paper.  Box, Evernote, OneNote, Lync, Just Call Me, tablets and virtual meetings are just some of the ways we can ensure paperless-ness.

Is this new way of working plain sailing? If I’m honest, no.  I missed my ever-present notebook and once or twice I almost gave in.  I’m glad I didn’t and, for me, mobility, cloud and paperless go hand in hand. The next step is for me to send my mum a digital birthday card next year but maybe that’s a step too far for Mum 🙂

Ready to scale up your business? Call an O2 business specialist on 0800 028 0202 or call free from your O2 mobile on 8002.


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