2 - Student Work Vol.3(3\/4 December 2001 The features and impact of the paperless office with specific reference to the City of Johannesburg M

2 - Student Work Vol.3(3/4 December 2001 The features and...

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Student WorkVol.3(3/4) December 2001The features and impact of the paperless office, with specific reference to the City of Johannesburg M. Hattingh (Midrand MLC, Midrand, South Africa) Post Graduate Diploma in Information Management Rand Afrikaans University [email protected]Contents1.Introduction2.Definitions3.Functionality of the paperless office4.Benefits of the paperless office 5.Case study: Digitising of amendment schemes and promulgations6.Conclusion7.References1 IntroductionMajor changes are taking place in the global workplace. The European Foundation reveals that work is becoming more intensive, more than 50% of workers are working at high speed or tight deadlines most of the time, the nature of the work is driven by customer demands and the number of people working with computers has increased to 41% in 2000. The strain on the employee is ultimately reflected in the work-related health issue of muscular pains in the neck and shoulders reported by a quarter of the workforce (European Foundation, 2000). Closer to home, statistics support this trend by indicating that the number of Internet users in Africa has increased by nearly 100%, from 2.5 million in 2000 to nearly 5 million in 2001, with South Africa having two-thirds of Africa's internet population (Dudley 2001). Not only does the Information Age take its toll on people, but on the environment too. The availability of computers, printers and information sources (e.g. the Internet), as well as access to new technologies such as digital cameras, has improved the ability and increased the capacity of the end-user to produce paper output. In South Africa paper printing is increasing annually at a rate of 20% (Maynard 2001). In South Africa an estimated three trillion pages were printed at homes and offices during 1999, which was 5% of the total number of 60 trillion pages printed world-wide, with a figure of eight trillion estimated for 2010 (Jovanovic 2000). Environmentalists are reacting to such environmental threats by launching initiatives that promote business practices and technologies that support and
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improve environmental protection and sustainability (Global e-Sustainability Initiative -GeSI 2001). Despite pressures to be more competitive and the large investments that have been made in technology to improve the ability to create, process, update and distribute data, many of us, including local government, are still drowning in a sea of paper that is becoming more difficult to control. Document and information control processes have not kept pace with the volumes of paper that we are creating. During the 1980s concerns were expressed that the growth of paperwork exceeded the corresponding growth in business (Knox 1980) and attempts were made to introduce digital documentation in order to create the paperless office, but they were never realized (Keary 2000). Since then new technological developments like the Internet, with sharing and collaboration capabilities, have been introduced. If the City of Johannesburg's vision is to become a world-class city that operates
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