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5Cs of Paper

5Cs of Paper

Many financial institutions today continue to rely on paper for conducting business: communications, contracts, disclosures, underwriting documentation are printed, mailed, copied, and moved around manually. This introduces a number of problems. Recently I began using a framework to explain the problem with paper. As you know marketers love frameworks using Cs and Ps. While these frameworks have limitations, they serve a purpose – providing a shortcut to remembering important components to keep in mind.

Introducing the 5Cs of paper based business processes.

  1. Cost. Without a doubt processes conducted on paper cost more at most/all points in the lifecycle.
  2. Cycle time. Shipping paper takes longer than using secure electronic delivery or eSignatures to get that contract signed online. Errors that are more common on paper due to lack of automatic validation (paper can’t tell you that you missed a required signature or a form field) further compound the cycle time problem as paper documents may go back and forth several times.
  3. Control (and visibility). When a paper package leaves your organization, you no longer have control over it (i.e. you can’t pull it back, easily replace it or know when the recipient opened and viewed its contents). This lack of control also applies to multi-step workslows such as underwriting. Workload balancing across geographically distributed teams is simply not effective when paper has to be shipped around.
  4. Compliance. We see a lot of confidential documents sitting in piles on desks or faxes left on a fax machine because the intended recipient doesn’t know that the fax has arrived. These documents may contain confidential and private information (i.e. social security number and medical records). There is always a risk than an unintended individual may gain access to information contain within.
  5. Customer experience. Let’s face it, we have all been “spoiled” by the convenience of services like Amazon and other leaders in web-based business. We expect immediate gratification (I want to download my iTunes, now.) and more options (overnight or 2 day delivery). The problem with paper is that it just can’t keep up with Internet speed and convenience. As a result some sad mortgage broker somewhere exclaims “Lost another one to Ditech!”. 
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