During the internet bubble of 2000, many of us predicted E-delivery of business content would reach a 40% to 50% adoption within a few years. Here we are now almost 15 years later and it still hovers around 20%. How can this still be true in 2014? Enterprises want print to become a secondary channel because it's less expensive. They form committees to ensure output from core systems is consistent, compliant, and adds to the customer experience. Stymied by low adoption rates — except in specific demographics, such as online brokerage and banking — many enterprises have lost enthusiasm for aggressively prioritizing digital adoption. And it's hard to blame them.

Unfortunately, we are the problem. We do not link paper usage with carbon contribution, don't trust our institutions, or are just are afraid of missing a payment unless the bill lands in the mailbox. Despite the plethora of smart devices, pervasive video, and social media that allow us to interact easily with customer service agents, pass information digitally, and complete business transactions on-the-run, we still hold on to paper delivery. I discuss the reasons for this here and what firms can do about it.

But what bothers me most is how far behind the times regulatory and legal environments are. Many states individually require paper dissemination for insurance notifications. Despite innovations like the "short-form prospectus," that reduces legal jargon and actually informs investors, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) still supports a multibillion dollar print industry that delivers paper that few read. Legal staffs tend to default to the safe, expensive options that provide the worst choices in customer experience. And it's not just older programs. The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) revised 2013 rules that require paper delivery.