You’ve just received a vital email with a crucial attachment, so what do you do? Chances are you’ll rush to print the attachment if AIIM’s research is anything to go by – apparently as much as 62% of important documents are still being archived in paper format (see further reading, below).

It’s not as if most companies don’t try to stop such errant activity. Most businesses have a “please don’t print” plea automatically attached to the end of each email; there’s probably one tagged to each of your mails.

Unfortunately, the plea often falls on deaf ears. Rather than being a call to action, employees around the UK print their documents first and think about the environment later.

But there is another way – document management technology can help you and your business users file, index, track, retrieve and distribute documents instantly from the desktop.

Despite the trend for all things social and virtual, document management still rates as a priority for global CIOs. Analyst Gartner recently revealed (see further reading) that the technology is rated as the seventh most important IT spending area for CIOs in 2010.

The reasons are clear. In an increasingly cost-conscious environment, businesses must find ways to increase process efficiency. Document management technology is a means to achieving such aims.

Look for an enterprise-wide system that integrates seamlessly with your existing accounting, ERP and/or HR systems. For a small financial outlay, you’ll be able to electronically store, manage, retrieve and distribute crucial documents such as invoices, contracts and personnel records.

Reports suggest that just over half of senior executives expect to increase their investment in document management and imaging technologies (see further reading). Take the lead from some of your peers – if you haven’t invested in document management technology yet, now is the time to spend.

The right technology will help you create a paperless office that pushes sustainability and boosts efficiency. And such an approach will have the added benefit of finally stopping your staff from printing and circulating so much paper!