Quite a few years ago while going to college I had a great job working for the Navy. It was a student job – a lot of filing, photocopying and answering phones – but I also got to dig deeper into how data was being managed. Helping some people with their tasks and looking at these tasks as an outsider, I came up with some interesting new ways of handling data. One aspect of the job that I did not like was tracking down old files on microfiche. While burning my retinas with the intense light of the microfiche machine I imagined the day that contract management software would make the job easier (okay – I had a pretty easy job, but you know how it is). Wouldn’t it be great if I could scan all the documents into a system, read all the data out of the forms, store that data (and the image of the document) in a database. Hey – why not allow anyone that has authority the ability to search for through those documents?
Of course that was 14-15 years ago and I figured that by this time everything would eventually be electronic. Well, we certainly are on the correct road, but I think we have much further to go. The paperless office is still missing in action.