People love paper. It’s a long-enduring relationship that’s unlikely to end any time soon. The paperless office continues to be a distant dream for the majority of European businesses, with many still storing large volumes of paper documents on site. But this could be a problem.
Iron Mountain research shows that that the paper records piling up in offices across Europe are not necessarily managed in ways that value and protect sensitive information. The infographic below highlights the key figures from Iron Mountain research into information management and document storage practices in Europe.
Carried out in August 2012, the research consisted of interviews with businesses in six European Markets: France, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Spain, Hungary. The study sought the opinions of those with operational responsibility within IT, marketing, customer service, legal & compliance in businesses with 150-2500 employees in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, financial services and legal sectors.
Our study shows that keeping large paper archives on site is causing problems for many, with overburdened and disorganised filing systems exposing businesses to an increased risk of data loss and damage, and preventing them from harnessing the full value of their information.
The study found that more than half (58 per cent) of firms store the majority of their paper records in a central storage repository on office premises. In many cases, the information is archived in the basement, exposing sensitive customer-related and business critical documents to the risk of flood, mould or rodent damage.
More than half (51%) of the companies Iron Mountain surveyed say that the bulk of their important customer communication is stored on paper, yet as many as 45 per cent of respondents said their access and storage capabilities were under “significant strain”, leaving them unable to retrieve information quickly enough. 37 per cent went so far as to characterise their storage capabilities as “chaotic” with little if any discernible structure, with some records placed in storage to never be seen again. Alarmingly, 2% of businesses have no structure whatsoever for storing customer communication.
Many companies are deeply concerned about the business impact of their management of paper-based information. Less than a quarter (24 per cent), believe that they have the appropriate access to customer information to provide strong levels of customer management. 49 per cent are afraid of losing valuable historical documents, and a quarter feel unable to implement an approach to information management that embraces information in paper and digital formats.