Why does one move from a paper toward a paperless process?

The key reasons for moving from a paper to a paperless process are cost reductions and management efficiencies in a period of tight budgets.

In NASA’s SBIR case, there are roughly 3,000 proposals submitted per year that are evaluated by over 6,000 reviewers. For the Justice Department's BVP case, an additional reason was to provide an effective system for a new program that had to be up and running quickly.

Byron Jackson, Deputy Director of the SBIR program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, says tracking paper flow was difficult under the old system. SBIR contract proposals are reviewed by at least two evaluators, often at different field centers. That meant that at least 6,000 reviews categorized under 120 subtopics were annually being shuffled around the country. Managing the thousands of documents associated with those proposals across 10 centers nationwide was a horrendous task. "Now we have all the data in one place," says Jackson. "Everybody can see the same data."

In the Department of Justice's BVP program, there are potentially 80,000 eligible jurisdictions. "Making this program available over the Internet will enable us to reach more communities and help protect more law enforcement officers than ever before," said former Attorney General Janet Reno.