First of all, we need to distinguish the concepts between digital file and electronic file, as they cause a great deal of confusion.
There is a widespread belief that by digitizing documents on paper, they are automatically in digital format, therefore the file is paperless. However, we need to clarify that what is electronic is not necessarily digital, and vice versa. There is a very fine line between the two: ‘digitising’ means ‘transforming’ and turning paper into digital format for its subsequent storage, while ‘electronic management’ is part of the digital transformation process being undertaken by companies, corporations, and governments… when changing their digitization processes.
For example, Correos (the Spanish postal service) and its e-Correos platform or the electronic Administration (E-admin) by the Spanish State are examples of paperless; although this administrative example of paperless is not the best because it is one thing to digitize and another to manage it. Despite the existence of these two digital platforms, both the government and the postal service still have a long way to go to call themselves paperless.
E-admin is still a digital platform, which does not mean a will to change. One fact bears this out: certified and legal digitization has been in operation in Spain since 2007. At first, it was rolled out very quickly and it underwent a stage of strong growth; however, it appears to have stagnated or at least not to have reached the levels that were expected.
Despite the huge benefits that being paperless offers a company, such as the reduction in physical space, being able to work remotely with files, lower costs and better communication with providers, the truth is that companies have not entirely digitized.