Has super-accelerated digitalization led to more documents needing printing, or less? One document management professional shares his views on this topic…

By 2025, global data creation is expected to double to 180ZB. Hardcopy documents are now a liability in the global race to achieve Net Zero carbon footprints, but they inevitably contain valuable data that can be turned documents into an asset, according to Vincent Low, Senior Director, Head of Enterprise Solutions, Canon Singapore.

While digital transformation has already reduced the need for printing some common data, Low noted that 89% of businesses in Singapore were struggling with data proliferation, which ultimately leads to more documents needing to be printed in order for humans to make sense of too much incoming data.

“Businesses, big and small, now need to manage two big challenges in their daily operations — the explosion of data, and its related connectivity to the Cloud. Despite the (increasing use) of digital documents, many documents and forms are still in print,” Low said, noting how this proliferation can be reduced via modern multi-function printers.

When data is already in print, office workers can use such printers’ scanner functionality to convert data into digital documents for storage in the cloud. From there, the data’s digital utility will be increased because unlimited numbers of people can now access that data, extract key information from it quickly, and even analyze high volumes of data to integrate with back-end enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and document management systems.

Three ways for embracing data-driven ESG
Low noted that the super-accelerated pace of digital transformation due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been pushing the world toward the ideals of Industry 4.0. However, with environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities now underlining how organizations should continue transforming their workflows, Low proposed three ways that leaders can balance business priorities with ESG-consciousness:

    1. Be data-driven decision makers
      Using data-driven insights in your decision-making can pave the way for many opportunities. Develop your business strategies through a methodological approach and invest in disruptive technologies to reap long-term benefits.

      For instance, IoT devices in smart factories result in greater productivity and quality. Monitoring of manufacturing processes done by AI rather than humans, also allows for efficient and early detection of errors, which translates into lower manufacturing costs and labor resources required.

    2. Recognize your business’s corporate social responsibility; balance profit with purpose
      Leaders with a clear vision for their company are not driven only by the profit motive. It is the bigger purpose that fuels them: creating products that are more socially or environmentally conscious. This in turn generates new revenue streams and improves their accountability to investors.

    3. Commit to training and growing talent
      Lastly, good leaders in the ESG-first age identify the skill sets that their existing employees need to remain competitive throughout continual ESG-conscious digital transformation.

      Such employees are constantly motivated to reach their full potential and productivity, through cloud-based solutions. As Industry 4.0 unfolds, we will witness the merger between the virtual world and the real world. Leaders need to embrace workforce development in addition to staying committed to their corporate purpose and vision, and adopting a data-focused approach.