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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Want To Go Paperless For Contracts? Unleash The Power Of An iPad

  If you are like me, you probably hate stacks of papers and files.  They are a pain to manage, costly, and extremely inefficient.  Laptops that have the ability to sign on screen (formerly called tablet PC's) are a great solution for the business professional that has to capture signatures on forms, but they can be costly and cumbersome.  The iPad coupled with online document storage, makes going paperless today within reach of many.  So how do you set this up?

First you need just a few things:
  1. An iPad obviously (Android tablets will work too, but the selection of PDF annotator apps is minimal)
  2. Online document storage service.  DropBox is great way to go and is very affordable. 
  3. PDF annotator app such as SignMyPad (ties in nicely with DropBox) or Annotate PDF
  4. A stylus for capactive touch screens (Griffin works well).
The process is easy:
  1. Create a folder for your document in your online file service or on your computer.  A
  2. Add the PDF form to the online folder or email the form to yourself
  3. Download the file to your iPad from your online document storage service or email
  4. Open your PDF annotator app 
  5. Open your PDF form in the app
  6. Sign with your stylus and write in any other information you need to
  7. Save the file as a PDF, email it to yourself, or save it directly back to your online document storage system.
Now you have a signed form and no need to print.  Simply attach the form to an email if needing to send to another party.  It's that simple.

Is it worth the money?  When it comes to business and tech, I look for everything thing to be an investment.  So, if you look at costs this way:
  1. Printing and faxing supplies averaging $70/month or $840/year
  2. If you reduce your printing by 90%, you have now reduced your costs to $84/year for a savings of $756/year.
  3. Cost of a base iPad 2 (16GB and WiFi only) is $499, and the iPad first generation is now $399.
  4. Cost of a stylus is $20
  5. SignMyPad app is $4.99
  6. Total initial cost with the iPad 2 is $524.  
  7. Compare that to the savings of $756 and you have just paid for everything within the first year and then some by simply reducing your costs of printing and faxing.
What ways are you going paperless?
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