The Real Deal in Going Green

My hat’s off to the folks at AIIM and their entire team on the “Infonomics” magazine.  This is one of the few (out of many) trade rags that wind up on my desk that I actually read, and the May-June ’09 issue has a couple of great articles.

The cover article is the “real deal” when it comes to going green: Enterprise Content Management (ECM).  For a technology that’s been available (yet evolving, as all good technology does) for so long, I find it amazing that there are still so many organizations who’ve not embraced it, or who have embraced it but not strategically (quite a few of the HR departments I still talk with are either not using the corporate ECM, or they are completely unaware if there is a corporate ECM).

A premise of the cover story is that so much of what we hear about regarding “going green” is so much fluff compared to what ECM has been delivering consistently for years now.  We’re talking pretty substantial and quantifiable savings here, if you’re looking strictly for the ROI angle vs. the “do the right thing” angle.  In a wonderfully direct and concise list, the authors cite the following 6 ways to go green by implementing ECM:

  1. Save money on paper and shipping
  2. Increase process efficiencies
  3. Integrate your field (remote) processes
  4. Reduce storage (real estate) costs
  5. Improve employee productivity
  6. Reduce off-site storage costs

So for our HR customers out there who read my blog, these are the 6 ways to justify implementing an electronic personnel folders system to accommodate not only your onboarding documents, but all of your employee lifecycle documents.

Another article in the same issue, “New Impetus For Going Paperless”, in addition to laying out a case for competitive advantage while saving lots of trees and lots of cash, cites a specific ROI of 8 months.  A complete, 100% return on investment is achievable with 8 months; I would go so far as to say that this is pretty conservative, i.e. an 8 month ROI if you are simply moving to paperless.  But if you actually improve your process–as we advocate in critical processes like new employee onboarding–I suggest the ROI is half that, perhaps even better.

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