Best Argument: Yes, Less
Audience Favored: Not Yet (63%)
The paperless business is already here
Denise Amrich: Paper has been busted down a rank. It has been demoted from a necessity to a choice. Ebook sales have overtaken printed book sales. They're cheaper to produce, shipping costs are
eliminated, they're available immediately, disintermediation offers more choice, and people are choosing them in droves. Tablet sales are up. Newspapers are shutting down. Paper mills are closing.
Note the actual meaning of the "less" in "paperlessness". It means a smaller amount of, or of lower rank or importance. That is where paper currently stands in many of today's offices.
No one could make a case that we are globally paper-free. Although total elimination of paper is what many people think of when they hear the word paperless, a real paperless environment is one where paper is simply greatly reduced or strategically used.
Just as electronics have gotten smaller, we will be using fewer sheets of paper in the future. We still have plenty of room to grow the space around us, and further reduce the amount of paper we need. But less is already more of a reality than it's ever been before.
A lot of paper still in use for some time to come
Larry Seltzer: I think anyone with any vision knows that the use of paper in business is on the way out. It's just the shape of the digital-to-paper change curve that we disagree on, and the severity of the impediments to the change.
In most conventional businesses there's still a lot of paper in use and there will continue to be for some time. I see 2 major reasons:
- Comfort - There are many people who just prefer paper. This must be largely a generational thing and will abate over time.
- Interoperability - When you give a piece of paper to someone they can generally read it, but their software may not be able to make sense of your documents.
Of course, this is the sort of thing that has been and will continue to improve, but some of these problems are very difficult to solve. Consider signatures on legal documents.