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From Paper to Digital

A Guide To Digital Transformation For Housing Associations

ORS Group I From Paper to Digital

Overview What is Digital Transformation and how to successfully transition your traditional paper based processes to more efficient digital equivalents.

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How This Guide Can Help If you are exploring the concept of Digital Transformation and your Housing Association is still reliant on paper for print, filing and correspondence then this guide can help assist your transition from paper to digital.


ORS Group I From Paper to Digital

Who is This Guide For? This guide is for those working in the social housing sector. • T hose tasked with investigating and delivering a Digital Transformation project. • IT professionals looking at ways of reducing costs and improving processes. • IT departments looking to consolidate infrastructure into the cloud to reduce cost and maintenance. • T hose involved in compliance and audit. • M  anagers of a team or department currently processing paperwork manually. • S taff responsible for managed print services within the organisation.


Who are ORS Group? Founded in 1988, ORS Group have been working in the social housing sector for over 20 years. During this time we have worked with over 200 different Housing Associations including Sovereign, Affinity Sutton, A2 Dominion, Sanctuary and many more. We continue to work with many of these providing ongoing outsourced services. We help Housing Associations deliver solutions that significantly reduce print and paper usage. The solutions we deliver can reduce or even totally remove the need for printed paper and paper processes in any Housing Association. The paperless office has been talked about for years, but we can help turn this into a reality in 4 simple steps.


ORS Group I From Paper to Digital

From Paper to Digital - Why Make The Change?


There are lots of good reasons to undertake a Digital Transformation program. Here are just a handful of reasons why it is so important for Housing Associations to make a paperless environment a reality. Cost Savings - Removal of paper from a business means cost savings. These include labour costs, ink costs, paper costs, floor space reductions, storage costs and energy costs. Efficiency Gains - Paper processes are inherently slow, cumbersome and inaccurate. Digital processes on the other hand are accurate, fast and can be automated to include workflows and authorisation. Facilitate mobile and home working - Sticking with paper means staying in the office. When your documents are digital you can work from anywhere and on any device. No need to be stuck at the same desk in the same office, maybe no need for an office at all?

Compliance - Digital documents help facilitate a fully compliant audit trail. Data sharing, processing and Integration Digital documents can be shared immediately and integrated with almost any other back office system. The data can also be processed and used for analytical purposes. Sustainability - Reducing paperwork reduces your carbon footprint. Making the change to digital is a step towards becoming greener.

Security - Paper is inherently insecure, weve all seen the lost and leaked documents headlines in the newpapers. A printed document can end up just about anywhere and with anyone. Digital documents on the other hand can be secured and access granted as and when it is appropriate.


ORS Group I From Paper to Digital

The 4 Steps To Digital Transformation

1. 2. 3. 4.



Understand how and where you use paper within your organisation. Indentify how this could be changed or removed to your advantage.


Educate your employees, create awareness, change attitudes and behaviours.


Excute your plan. Replace paper processes and functions with digital alternatives.


Improve your organisation by fully utilising your new digital processes. Use and share the data, automate, refine and work more flexibly.


ORS Group I From Paper to Digital



Where do you currently use paper within your organisation? How could you change this? Do you file, archive and store paperwork on shelves, in folders and in cabinets? There are three key areas where paper documents are produced within a Housing Association. This paperwork is what we call active and includes: Printing and photocopying - Paperwork that is generated on a daily basis by almost any employee in your organisation. This is often found to be done uneccessarily and regularly creates duplicates too. Inbound mail - Paperwork entering the business that needs sorting, distributing, processing, filing and storing. Outbound mail - Correspondence sent from the business everyday. This could include letters to tennants, suppliers and other third parties.


On top of these three key areas of active paper documents it is also worth considering what we call inactive paperwork. By this we mean rarely used, stored and archived paperwork. This paperwork is normally stored off site with a box storage company or it occupies valuable floor space in filing cabinets or on shelves.



Educate your employees, create awareness, begin to change attitudes and behaviors. As part of your Digital Transformation project you will need to get your employees on board. There will be resistance from many employees, resistance to change is quite normal. There are a number of steps to help structure this process: Create awareness - Let your employees know what is happening, what will be involved, the benefits and how the project will unfold. Change attitudes and behaviors - You will find a complete mix of attitudes from your employees. Educate them on the benefits of Digital Transformation and help them understand why the project is taking place. Appoint Change Champions - Change Champions carry the digitisation message, build awareness and help reach people at every level.


ORS Group I From Paper to Digital



Execute a plan to reduce paper usage, convert paper processes and paper functions to digital alternatives. Printing and photocopying both come at a high price. Using the Digital Transformation model you can significantly reduce or even remove the need to do print or photocopy. Why print and photocopy when you can scan? Implent an Enterprise Content Management System - your documents can be scanned straight into this. These documents are scanned straight into a single document pool to be accessed by your other systems such as CRM, email, finance, HR and your housing management system. Authorised users can securely access the information they need regardless of location or hardware. There is no risk of multiple versions, colleagues can read, share and work on the same documents. Documents are tamper proof and ensures your organisation fulfills compliance guidelines. Inbound mail can also be streamlined through the Digital Transformation Model. The movement of paper stops at the scanner. Mail entering the business is scanned, data captured and workflowed via the Enterprise Content Management System.


Outbound mail and correspondence can also be reduced or even removed. Purchase orders, invoices, tenant correspondence all become digital via email and PDFs. Surveys in the post become online digital forms that instantly populate the Enterprise Content Management System. Select a cloud based Enterprise Content Management System. IT departments need to reduce infrastructure costs, remove hardware and reduce maintenance. The cloud model is the favoured approach.


Improve and Integrate

Make the digital shift. Improve your organisation by utilising your digital data and new digital processes. Integrate documents and data into your existing software and systems. Digital document based workflows are faster and more reliable than the paper based variety. Once set up, processes run securely and error free - for example, when you digitally authorise an invoice, the workflow automatically sends it to the next person in the chain for authorisation or approval. Every user can add business related email to a structured filing system with other documents. Important information is no longer hidden away in personal mailboxes - it is well organised and can be quickly accessed by authorised colleagues. Using a cloud based system, documents and information can be accessed via smartphone, tablet or laptop. As long as you have an internet connection then the work doesn’t have to stop. This means working from home and on the go becomes reality. Hot desking can be implemented and the need for huge expensive offices is reduced.


ORS Group I From Paper to Digital

Case Study: Digital Transformation into The Cloud - Sovereign Housing Association


Sovereign Housing Association is one of the UKs largest housing associations with over 38,000 homes. With homes across the South and South West, Sovereign employs over 1000 people. The relationship between Sovereign and ORS Group began 4 years ago when ORS Group assisted Sovereign with a back scan at the Christchurch office. Ahead of that we had already worked with Twynham Housing back in 2000 capturing tenant files and finance documentation to Microfilm. ORS Group were again selected to provide document capture services for a significant paper records archive. Sovereign had a “backlog” of documents across offices in Swindon, Abingdon, Exeter and in off site storage in Bristol. The first stage of the project was to complete a full document audit across all sites within the project scope. Once complete, a schedule for collections could be agreed upon and timescales for scanning and delivery of digital images projected. Once the backlog was cleared, a business as usual scanning schedule could be planned to keep up with the weekly increase in paper documents.

organisations, a cloud based solution was favoured over an on premise solution. The solution proposed by ORS Group was DocuWare Cloud. Due to the large number of scanned images that would need loading into the system, along with all of the existing data in the Swordfish and Valid systems the Docuware Cloud Enterprise solution was selected by Sovereign. This allowed for an unlimited number of users across the organisation and a large initial storage capacity of 250Gb. ORS Group ran compression on images to reduce the size from the previous systems and advised on best practice when staff scanned and saved documents into the system to keep storage space to a minimum. Training was also provided to the various offices and user groups created with different levels of access to documents. Staff can now save emails directly into the system and scan directly from the MFD’s across the various offices. Using the DocuWare API the housing management data is updated every day into the cloud system, so staff can select a tenant or property file and save and retrieve information in real time.

The final stage of the project was to supply a cloud based electronic document management solution. Like many other forward thinking


ORS Group I From Paper to Digital

Case Study: A Catalyst for CDS Co-Operatives Digital Transformation


CDS Co-Operatives provide a range of services to tenants, leaseholders and client co-operatives to help control their homes. These include such things as housing development and project admin, accounting, financial planning and management, repairs, maintenance, education and training and property management. As part of a drive to improve value for money for customers and clients, CDS came to ORS Group to assist with a move to a smaller shared office set up in Great Dover Street, London. Moving to a smaller office with an open plan environment could mean only one thing, no more paperwork, no more filing cabinets. With so much spare space over 4 floors in their old premises the paperwork had built up and filing was done in the most traditional way. The challenge put to ORS Group was to scan all the paper archives and make them accessible to all relevant parties. This would be total digital transformation for CDS.

CDS selected ORS Group as their partner for this project because of the ability to provide both quality in house scanning services and also because of their expertise in delivering DocuWare Cloud. DocuWare Cloud has rapidly become THE cloud platform of choice for enterprise content and document management. CDS were particularly impressed by the extensive features the DocuWare Cloud offered for such an affordable monthly cost. Add to this the unlimited number of users and storage that can easily be extended by the Gigabyte if required. The Digital Transformation project was delivered on time with CDS moving into their new near paper free offices in December 2015. CDS now have the ability to scan incoming post daily and allocate it to the staff member for action. Individuals can also access tenant documents via mobile phone, tablet or PC. DocuWare Cloud has been configured to allow access to the digital documents based on each users individual requirements or level of authority.

Timescales for the office move were tight, so ORS Group had to act fast in collecting the documents and getting them into the scanning facility as quickly as possible. While the scanning was moving forwards, the planning and implementation of DocuWare Cloud began.


ORS Group I From Paper to Digital

Next Steps... Hopefully you’ve found this guide a helpful introduction to the steps involved in starting a digital transformation project. You can find out more about the services we offer and the other Housing Associations we have worked with at: or why not give us a call on

023 8026 7755

From Paper To Digital - A Guide To Digital Transformation For Housing Associations  

A Free 16 Page Guide To Digital Transformation For Housing Associations. Helping Housing Associations cut down on print and paper use.

From Paper To Digital - A Guide To Digital Transformation For Housing Associations  

A Free 16 Page Guide To Digital Transformation For Housing Associations. Helping Housing Associations cut down on print and paper use.