How Mobile Business Apps Can Help Enterprise Companies Reduce Paper Use

By Stuart Kelly on November 19, 2013

Being a big business means your organization is larger in many ways: more people, more space, and more resources. Large organizations have many strengths but the one thing that all enterprises have struggled with? The extensive use of paper. While once a necessity, the cost of paper is a drain not only on your time, but also on your business. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

First, let’s look at the upfront cost of your paper. Perhaps you’re a restaurant chain and you do daily inspections of your kitchens. If you’re in Houston, that inspection is 5 pages. If you do one inspection every day at 10 restaurants, that’s fifty sheets of paper a day. How many days a year is your restaurant open? Let’s say you’re open 350 days a year: you’re using 17,500 sheets of paper

all that paper means one angry lorax

The cost of using paper forms is more than buying the forms. Your workers spend hours entering that information into your system. Even if you have just one person entering data, you’re spending tens of thousands of dollars just to enter that data. That’s a lot of time and money you could spend growing your business! 

Then there are the added headaches we’re all familiar with. The long hours you spend trying to find missing forms, glean data from damaged forms, or fix errors! Don’t forget to add all the space your office needs just to hold onto these forms, and every year it grows.

Okay, okay! We all know paper hurts, so where’s the good news? Mobile apps can solve these challenges and with little investment in time or money. Many mobile apps go on a monthly subscriber basis. The cost of that subscription could be cheaper than the cost of your paper forms!

In addition, apps don’t carry any of the heavy costs of large scope IT projects. Instead, mobile business apps are about simple intuitive user experience, flexible and powerful self service tools. Many offer free trials to start, and work across platforms. Let your workers bring in their iPhones, Androids, even Blackberrys: it doesn’t matter for most mobile apps. 

So how does it work? Your worker uses a smartphone or tablet to fill out their report, say a kitchen inspection. That submission goes straight to the cloud for immediate access. Many mobile apps include API webservices for backend integration. In plainspeak? You no longer need to spend thousands of hours on data entry. Repurpose the staff time and money from data entry and maintenance to other more profitable projects, even reclaim the storage space.

More than saving time and money, going mobile can give you better data. Your staff can collect more data with amazing features like: GPS, photo and signature capture, as well as barcode scanning. Even include your own information with reference data! Harness technology to give you better insight into your business.

Going mobile also has a long term environmental benefit. Thousands of businesses already use mobile apps, saving tons of paper from ever being created. GoCanvas subscribers alone save a ton of paper  every 8 days. Imagine if every business took this step: we would save a staggering amount of trees and create a stronger environmental legacy.

With everything else you have to do at your business, the status quo with paper forms is the easy, but costly choice. Every day, the costs of paper-based processes are not easily tracked but are undeniable. How much is inaction costing your business?