In a recent radio interview, Jon Hansen discusses the reality of the paperless office with Invu and Abbyy.

Oyster IMS’ Josef Elliott joined in the debate at LinkedIn.

Here’s what Josef has to say on the challenges and opportunities of this perennial subject:

” Interesting radio piece with a very enthusiastic presenter. As far as the content of the show goes, I thought both Stuart and Colin spoke very creditably. I don’t currently work with INVU or Abbyy but I know plenty of people that do and they are very well regarded products.

My problem with the industry in general (and I’ve been in it for 20 years) is that there doesn’t seem to be much real innovation. In fact, I think all we’ve done is create problems for ourselves with a general scattergun approach to capture that consist of “scan, use, save wherever is easiest, then forget”. So much so, that there’s now a (very profitable) cottage industry around helping clients access and export images from 10 to 20 year old proprietary imaging systems with poor metadata and little or no “intelligence” – what John Mancini calls Digital Landfill. And what’s more, I still see that happening, just with greater and greater volumes. Again, rather depressingly, in all that time, what’s the one “application” that we’ve developed? Yes, it’s invoice processing / accounts payable – where documents are printed, posted, scanned and emailed, or emailed, printed, scanned and emailed, or some other combination of these steps. Hardly business process improvement in my view, more like business process replication.

I do, of course, agree that real savings come when smart, well-managed workflow is used to achieve real benefits through shortened approval cycles, parallel document distribution and remote access. But shouldn’t we have worked out a way by now to do that between enterprises rather than just within? Or was that EDI? Given that nearly all information is born digital, I think that what is needed is a more integrated supply chain and adoption of digital signature technology (still no killer app). Then maybe we wouldn’t need to print or scan at all? Or have we been saying that for 20 years?”