Green Content - ECM an Enabler


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Paper is still holding a majority of organizations information and excessive use of paper is
adversely effecting the environment with the destruction of trees, which is the most wonderful
natural resource resulting in global warming and posing threat to future generations.
Organizations today have realized the importance of managing their content efficiently to
safeguard their bottom-line and environment. Managing unstructured content, which constitutes
80% of the content generated is more challenging and needs better management. The
advancement of IT has helped in mitigating these challenges in different ways and Enterprise
Content Management (ECM) solutions have witnessed their clear leadership in this.
This presentation will focus on defining what is Green Content, explaining the adverse impact of paper usage on Environment and suggesting how Enterprise Content Management (ECM) can help organizations in their green initiatives.

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Green Content - ECM an Enabler

  1. 1. Green Content - ECM an enablerAuthor : Co-Author :K.V. Rajesh Manish Soota 1
  2. 2. IntroductionContent is generated in every walk of our life in different forms likepaper, faxes, eMails, social networks, forms, web pages, audio,video and in many other forms. The exponential growth of content iswitnessed every year and is bringing several challenges to theorganizations and environment.Paper is still holding a majority of organizations information andexcessive use of paper is adversely effecting the environment withthe destruction of trees, which is the most wonderful natural resourceresulting in global warming and posing threat to future generations.Organizations today have realized the importance of managing theircontent efficiently to safeguard their bottom-line and environment.Managing unstructured content, which constitutes 80% of the contentgenerated is more challenging and needs better management.The advancement of IT has helped in mitigating these challenges indifferent ways and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutionshave witnessed their clear leadership in this.This presentation will focus on defining what is Green Content,explaining the adverse impact of paper usage on Environment andECM can help organizations in their green initiatives. 2
  3. 3. What is unstructured content? Unstructured content includes paper documents, eMails, word documents, images, web pages, audios, videos and many other content types which reside outside the scope of structured databases. Since they don’t follow a structure it is very difficult to manage this type of content. Fig 1 : Unstructured Content 3Note : Respective Trademarks belong to Facebook, Tweeter, Adobe, AutoCad and Microsoft.
  4. 4. What is unstructured content?• Majority of potentially usable business information originates inunstructured form• Unstructured data is growing at 61.7% CAGR while structuredcontent is growing at 21.8%• By 2013, 507 Billion emails will be sent each day• 4.6 Billon Mobile Phones World Wide• Twitter process 7 terabytes of data every day• Facebook process 10 terabytes of data every day 4
  5. 5. What is green content?The unstructured content which is in electronic form and if managedproperly will use less paper, printers, faxes, photocopiers,transportation and physical storage in its lifecycle can be termed asgreen content. Green content helps the environment on asustainable basis with minimal carbon footprint. Fig 2 : Be eco-friendly with green content 5
  6. 6. How is Paper Impacting our EnvironmentPaper is an essential stationary in every office and 95% of businessinformation is still stored on paper. We have been hearing the term“paperless office” for many years now but paper consumption hastripled in the last decade. The advancement of IT has not reducedour paper use; instead, we print more and copy more adding to thepaper pile. An estimated 115 billion sheets of paper are usedannually for personal computers. Traditionally record keepingconstitutes more than 90% of all office activity. Studies indicate that80% of paper filed is never referenced again. A great deal of time isbeing wasted printing, sorting, purging, and filing paper. Paperintensive processes are highly inefficient, increases processing timeand prone to loss of information during the process. Thoughpaperless office is a still a myth but there is a clear environmentalneed for it. 6Fig 3 : Deforestation, air and water pollution for paper manufacturing
  7. 7. How is Paper Impacting our EnvironmentNot just the consumption of trees for paper production is causingenvironmental problems, even the paper making process ishazardous to the environment. Paper mills are one of the worstpolluters to air, water and land. Each year millions of pounds ofhighly toxic chemicals such as toluene, methanol, chlorine dioxide,hydrochloric acid and formaldehyde are released into the air andwater from papermaking plants around the world.• It takes one 15-year old tree to produce half a box of paper• Approximately 324 liters of water is used to produce 1 KG of paper• Paper manufacturing is the largest industrial user of water perpound of finished product• Paper manufacturing is the 3rd largest user of fossil fuels worldwide• One tree can filter up to 60 pounds of pollutants from the air eachyear which is compromised for producing paper• Rainforests once covered 14% of the earths land surface; now theycover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remainingrainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years 7
  8. 8. How is Paper Impacting our Environment • The US uses approximately 68 million trees each year to produce 17 billion catalogues and 65 billion pieces of direct mail. • Every tree provides oxygen enough for 3 people to breathe. • Paper products use about 35% of the worlds annual commercial wood harvest • When paper rots or is composted it emits methane gas which is 25 times more toxic than CO2 Fig 4 : Global Warming – Impact of paper on Environment 8Courtesy :,
  9. 9. What is ECMEnterprise Content Management (ECM) is the strategies, methodsand tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and delivercontent and documents related to organizational processes. ECMtools and strategies allow the management of an organizationsunstructured information, wherever that information exists. – by AIIM 9 Fig 5 : Unified ECM Platform
  10. 10. What is ECMECM offers an unified platform for scanning & capture, documentmanagement, search, workflow management, collaboration, webcontent management, records management and digital assetmanagement. ECM technologies have matured over years andwidened their offerings. Several organizations across industries havebeen benefited from ECM in optimizing their processes, enhancingcustomer satisfaction, improving productivity, reducing cost,increasing profitability and saving environment. 10
  11. 11. How ECM enables Green ContentECM enables organizations to manage their unstructured content inits entire lifecycle from creation, sharing, usage, archival tilldestruction. Among all IT solutions ECM is a leading enabler ofGreen Content by reducing organizations dependency on paper.Many organizations worldwide have realized the importance ofGreen Content and implemented ECM as an enabler. ECM hasseveral benefits to offer to organizations, but in this article we willmajorly focus on how ECM helps the environment with GreenContent by identifying key areas where paper usage is more. 11
  12. 12. How ECM enables 1 Green ContentThrough scanning paper documents and drawings are converted toelectronic files which can be easily shared with multiple users hencereducing the need for taking copies and printouts for sharing &processing the content. Paper should be scanned earliest at thepoint of its origination to reduce or eliminate the need to physicallymanage it in the process. For example a financial institution keeps acopy of the customer document at the branch location and ships theoriginal to central / regional office where further processing takesplace. But if the branches scan the document as soon as theyreceive it from the customer they can immediately share the scannedimages with their central / regional office and can save on takingcopy and shipping. In case of discrepancy in the document they aresent back to branch office which in turn consumes fuel duringtranspiration and increases the processing time. 12
  13. 13. How ECM enables 2 Green ContentKnowledge workers have the habit of taking printout of draft letters /documents for editing and taking approvals before the finaldocument is ready. In this process the document goes throughseveral iterations and are printed, copied and circulated severaltimes. ECM helps knowledge workers to collaborate while creatinga document allowing users to jointly work on different versions of thedocument before the final one is created. At the same time ECM alsooffers the traditional flexibility of highlighting, underlining, addingannotations / comments even on the electronic documents. 13
  14. 14. How ECM enables 3 Green ContentAll organizations, irrespective of whether they are into Government &Public Services or Financial Services or Insurance or power & utilityor Healthcare or manufacturing or engineering & construction oreducational or logistics or non-profit, all of them, have paperintensive processes which are detrimental to the environment andorganizational bottom line. Some of the paper intensive processesare Accounts Payable & Receivables process, Account OpeningProcess, Employee records management, Contracts Management,Drug Discovery, Citizen Services, Health care, Claims processesand many more. Organizations should identify their respective paperintensive processes and automate it with the help of ECM. TheBusiness Process Management and Workflow functionality of ECMhelps organizations in automating and optimizing their documentintensive processes by eliminating their dependency on paper 14
  15. 15. How ECM enables 4 Green ContentHeaps of pre printed paper forms are distributed, stored and used inkey business processes. Application forms, purchase requisitions,invoices, claims are some of the commonly used pre printedstationeries. Managing pre printed stationary is a herculean task, ifnot properly planned will result in wastage of the entire stock due tochange in structure / content of the form. Sometimes when anorganization goes through corporate identity change the entire preprinted stationery is discarded. With eForms these pre printedstationary can be completely eliminated and reduce its impact onenvironment. At the same time eForms offer several advancedfeatures while capturing data with field level validations, calculations,pre population and while logically routing the form effortlessly in theprocess. After completion of the process eForms are stored in ECMas records for future reference. 15
  16. 16. How ECM enables 5 Green ContentIn modern times eMails are extensively used and becoming de-factomode of business communication.Fig 6 : Which of the above would best describe standard practice in your organization for dealing with “important” emails? Source : State of the ECM Industry 2010, AIIMUsers have the ill practice of taking printout of eMails to file for futurereference and audit purposes. As shown in above figure, still 12%admit taking printout of eMails for filing as paper. ECM with its eMailManagement functionality automates the process of capturing emailmessages as business records, simplifies the retrieval of messagesfor compliance purposes, and effectively solves email storage 16issues.
  17. 17. How ECM enables 6 Green ContentWhen paper documents are sent off-site for archiving, Gartnerestimates that only about 1 per cent is ever accessed again. Asmuch as possible organizations should store records electronicallyand save on physical record keeping. When we store recordselectronically we don’t print & copy them for storage and in turnsaves environment by reducing use of paper, electricity consumed inheating or cooling the record room and fuel consumed in transportingrecords. Destruction of paper records also generates polluting gasesand debris. Record retention policies are equally important since itcan reduce unnecessary storage of old records for ages. ECMmanages digital and physical records regardless of the system theyoriginate from or reside in throughout their entire lifecycle byclassifying, storing, securing and disposing the records with clearlydefined retention policies. This also helps in meeting regulatorydemands by safeguarding key records, confidential information andintellectual property. 17
  18. 18. ConclusionGreen Content initiatives have sustainable benefits to organizationsand society at large. Since we now understand the ill effects of paperon the environment, each one of us should consciously reduce itsconsumption and spread the message for a greener tomorrow.Like any other major initiatives in an organization this should also bedriven from top with clear mandate at all levels. Knowing thecontribution of ECM towards Green Content, organizations shouldstrategically plan its rollout by identifying right ECM solution, build ateam which is committed to this initiative, find out where paper isheavily used (which can otherwise be managed electronically) andautomate those paper intensive processes from its point oforigination.Apart from significantly contributing to the environment, GreenContent also helps organizations in reducing cost, increasingemployee & customer satisfaction, increase profitability andcomplying with statutory requirements. 18
  19. 19. References1.IDC Enterprise Disk Storage Consumption Model" report released in Fall 20092.Email Statistics Report, 2009-2013 by The Radicati Group, INC3.IBM ParterWorld Leadership Conference February 20114.iD2comminications : Facts About Paper and Paper Waste, Source : Worldwatch Institute; Environment Canada; American Forest and Paper Association, (Garner, J.W.. Energy Conservation Practices Offer Environmental and Cost Benefits. Pulp & Paper, October 2002); "1996 Statistics, Data Through 1995." American Forest and Paper Association. November 1996; American Forest and Paper Association; North Carolina Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling; The Recyclers Handbook, 1990; International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)5. 19