ECM is good for the environment, says Gartner

Enterprise content management (ECM) can improve operational efficiency and deliver environmental benefits, says analyst Gartner.

Enterprise content management (ECM) can improve operational efficiency and deliver environmental benefits, says analyst Gartner.

Enterprise content management can bring business process efficiencies and help the environment at the same time by reducing paper-based processes and the inherent latencies and costs, said Gartner.

Gartner has examined six areas in which organisations can develop strategies to become more agile and efficient while reducing the environmental impact of their business.

"The 1980's notion of a paperless office was about how technology could bring efficiency and change work styles," said Mark Gilbert, an analyst at Gartner. "Organisations are realising that process improvements and the move away from paper to electronic processes can also bring green benefits, such as energy savings from paper production, distribution, usage and disposition, and transit through the postal system."

Gartner's six areas that help companies identify processes that can be modified to reduce harmful effects on the environment, while becoming more efficient:

1- Overcome information capture inefficiencies

Analyse how you capture information from customers, prospects and suppliers: make an audit of the methods used by various functions to collect and route data, as well as serve up content.

2- Understand document and record realities

Store records electronically and avoid heating/cooling costs: storing records in an appropriate electronic format offers significant benefits.

3- Build an ECM strategy

An enterprise-wide strategy is cleaner and greener: as architects and planners increasingly take an enterprise-wide view, organisations need to consider consolidating applications into the most strategic ones where possible. This will usually bring savings in hardware, storage, IT operations and maintenance agreements.

4- Explore outsourcing

Outsourcing and service bureaus: economies of scale: organisations should consider using service bureaus and outsourcing aspects of their content management needs that are common and in which they have no particular expertise or value-add.

5- Optimise processes with CEVAs

Content-enabled vertical applications (CEVAs) save money and paper: CEVAs help to automate complex processes that previously required workers to sort through paper documents and other forms of content manually.

6- Explore new digital information approaches and expectations

A new generation has fresh expectations: organisations should determine the overall role that electronic communications play in their organisation - with their customers, their partners and their prospects - because the cost of electronic communications tends to be lower overall.

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