Adobe Study: Is Paper Now on the Endangered Species List?


Adobe Study: Is Paper Now on the Endangered Species List?

U.S. managers cite major concerns over paper's impact on business process, security and environment

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- New research unveiled today by Adobe Systems Incorporated (NAS: ADBE) reveals important new insights from U.S. managers around digital business processes and paper. According to the study, "Paper: An Endangered Species?" the majority of the managers surveyed had overwhelmingly negative attitudes toward traditional paper-based processes and cite productivity, security, attracting talent and going green as the benefits of a completely digital workflow. The research is based on interviews with 1,051 U.S. managers in small, medium and large businesses.

"Printers, scanners, and fax machines are killing business productivity," said Jon Perera, vice president, EchoSign, Adobe. "Successful organizations are quickly moving towards paperless-based approaches for their critical business processes. This is about driving revenue, cutting costs, improving security, and reducing environmental impact."

Paper processes hinder productivity and increase costs

The study revealed that paper can be a hindrance to productivity as more than one-half of managers believe that digital approaches simplify work, are easy to use and allow them to be more efficient. Further, companies slow to adopt fully digital practices are at a disadvantage when it comes to growing their businesses and ultimately attracting new customers:

  • 51% of respondents said that a digital workflow makes filing and managing documents easier;

  • 61% of managers said working digitally saves on costs;

  • 32% said a digital workflow is more efficient, giving them an edge with client work and ultimately helps win new business.

The last mile in paper battle: contracting

When it comes to contracts, paper loses the battle to digital in all categories, from cost to efficiency to ease of use. The tipping point for more businesses to transition to digital contracting may be on the horizon - respondents noted they would be highly interested in using an automated Web contracting tool that makes it easy to electronically sign, track and secure contracts:

  • 98% of respondents noted they still use paper in their transactions involving contracts;

  • Only 18% having made the switch to purely digital methods when signing contracts;

  • 72% said a digital tool, such as an eSignature service, would fulfill a critical business need;

  • 73% of managers affirmed that life would be easier if all contracts exchanged at work were done digitally.

Paper is negatively impacting security and trust

Paper impacts the trust that businesses have with partners, vendors and customers. The research showed that this was especially true when it comes to the sanctity of contracts, the heart of business agreements and commercial transactions:

  • More than two-thirds believe that paper-based contracts are prone to defacing;

  • 60% of managers believe that password-protected electronic documents are more secure than paper documents locked in a safe;

  • 56% cited the fear of losing a paper document as the top "con" of using paper.

Digital is key to attracting talent and going green

The study also pointed out a growing attitude that it's more prestigious to work for a company that is committed to go digital:

  • 76% of respondents said they are impressed by companies that have a strong digital presence;

  • 71% said they wish their company was more digital;

  • 68% said that it is important for a company to operate mostly electronically versus on paper when they are deciding where to work.

About the "Paper: An Endangered Species?" Study

The data points referenced above come from a study commissioned by Adobe, produced by research firm Edelman Berland and conducted as an online survey among 1,051 U.S. managers who draft, send or sign contracts and agreements at small, medium and large companies. The margin of error for this study (n=1,051) is +/- 3.1%. The survey was fielded between Wednesday, January 30, 2013 and Friday, February 8, 2013.

For more information on the research results visit the study: Paper: An Endangered Species? and Paper: An Endangered Species? Infographic.

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit

© 2013 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Adobe and the Adobe logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Adobe Systems Incorporated
Courtney Brigham, 408-536-3902
Larry Lettieri, 650-762-2860

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