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You will say yourself : “Once again, a new article about the Paperless World”.

For more than 25/30 years, all professional and specialized advisors had been praising us about this concept with the same leitmotivs.

  • All “Digital” automated process,
  • No physical document (Paper or computerized)
  • Interconnected Systems.

In fact, a perfect and magic world in opposition of the “ancient world”. This kind of “wonderful” world, everyone has announced it (I have to confess that I was there and part of the prophecy)..

After a quarter century, it is time to assess the situation

  • Our common process have reached a highest level of complexity. The advantages of new technologies are automatically compensated by new regulations and a highest management sophistication.
  • From now, we are totally invaded by documents. I am convinced that, if we print physically all documents we received, no trees wouldn’t survive actually. Try to imagine your mailbox every morning. We are abusing a lot !!
  • In order to connect all IT systems, we have to create some Robots or generate some offshoring work (Data acquisition, Scanning, indexing ). If we add the fact that we increase the number of systems (ERP, CRM, HRIS, ECM, Etc…), the problem will grow exponentially and naturally..

We keep going ?

It is not acceptable to summarize this concept of “Paperless” and resume it to the physical removal of Support. However, everyone has just accept that during this quarter (Customers, Consultants, Providers, etc…).

Let’s change a bit, our view of Paperless.



Not a revolution, but let’s ask the right questions first.

We have replaced “Paperless” with “Document Everywhere”. Let’s try to redefine the concept of Paperless.

At the same time, Document Usage has radically changed. Media Change and Reading Interfaces has modify our way to “integrate” documents. Fast readings and extraction of relevant informations drive our way to approach documents. The support has no importance. So our way to read documents changes a lot. And I didn’t mention the new generations.

The issue is now based on the fast reading and relevant informations.


To illustrate again, we start to use image, video to communicate faster. For the young generations, the success, especially of Snapchat, Instagram,... proves it. In our old organizations, people are evaluated in the way they used Powerpoint rather than Word.

Our way to communicate has changed. So document processing like information support has altered, and will change in future.


We start to be far away of the Paper. So, if we think “Paperless”, it becomes essential to think about our own user experience “Document Reading”. Our world switches from a physical support used since several millenniums to diversity of delivery channels. The revolution is soft, quiet, but constant. All together, we are going to alter our document vision and its processing.

These structural changes have to bring us to rethink radically the definition of document and Paperless. We are still at the crossroad.

How to read a document, tomorrow ? Which Interface ? What will our “user experience” ? in this Paperless World.


The view and process of information/document have changed.


These thoughts will be central in our future evolutions. And I am convinced that the next step won’t be in a quarter.

All evolutions made and declined from the old “Paperless” Definition has to be rethinking. We need a new definition. This vision will be a cumulation of small technical steps and behavioural changes, mainly coming from our youngest generations.

So, others approaches can exist. Did we change our way of thinking or we continue ?


(R)evolution announced by our philosophers (Michel Serres particularly) is on his way. Let’s decline it.

I don’t know that will be the future, but certainly, we need really a new way to process Documents.

Let’s start to rewrite our Paperless Definition and Document vision !


Post by Alain Lebras
May 10, 2019