5 Quotes From Sun Tzu to Help You Digitize

#1: Know yourself and you will win all battles.

Before you rush off into battle, you need to take inventory of your armament. Business armament includes your employees, their expertise, the capabilities of your IT department and the technology you already have. Digitizing inevitably means that your employees will need additional training and additional technology. However, it does not mean that everything and everyone needs to be replaced. A surgical strike will let you focus on the processes that need to be digitized without collateral damage to your employees.

#2: Opportunities multiply as they are seized.

The more digital you go, the more opportunities you have to further digitize. For example, let’s say you just want to get your training documents under control so your audits run smoothly. You might start by purchasing an electronic document control system. Once that’s up and running, you realize the same software can be used to improve collaboration by making it electronic. Once employees are collaborating electronically, you realize the same digital system can be used to gather external input. This process continues until digitizing becomes part of your company culture and permeates everything you do.

#3: There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.

The longer a war takes, the more it costs. The same applies to the War on Paper. Digitization does take time, especially for it to spread through an organization. And fast-tracking implementation isn’t necessarily a good idea if employees can’t keep up. However, the longer you drag out your implementation, the more you stand to lose. True, you’ll experience some benefits with every step of digitization, but you’ll have opportunity costs from everything that hasn’t been digitized.

#4: He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.

If Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that a battle must be preceded by a rousing speech to rally the troops. The War on Paper doesn’t quite require the exact same action, but it does require that you take specific efforts to get your team on board with and excited about the idea of digitizing. This is a major organizational change, which means big changes in how employees perform their jobs on a day-to-day basis.

#5: Great results can be achieved with small forces.

Wars aren’t won in a single battle. Just like your company won’t be a digital enterprise after a single project. Starting small with something that yields quick results is the best move here. It’s tempting to start with something big to prove the importance of digitizing and show the benefits. However, small change is more acceptable and can yield 80 to 100 percent improved productivity of individual processes. 2


Sun Tzu’s classic has a lot to offer those fighting the War on Paper. However, even more useful information comes from those who have successfully fought and won this war for their companies. If you’re interested in seeing their battle plans, watch the aforementioned webinar now and see how to go on the offensive and finally get paper out of the office.

  1. Priest, Dan; Krishnamurthy, Kumar and Blanter, Alex. “The New Automation Is Smart, Fast, and Small.” Retrieved from https://www.strategy-business.com/article/The-New-Automation-Is-Smart-Fast-and-Small?gko=ba9d4



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