Let’s face it — paper is not going away! The “Paperless” office is a myth! However, what is a real possibility is the office with “less paper” — and there are many indications that it is happening. I just can’t imagine a time when managers that I’ve worked with will not want their “hard copy” of a report — “just in case…” — of what? Who knows? …but “just in case…”!
We who manage IT have a responsibility to conserve resources wherever we can – it is both good business as well as good for the environment. One need not do much more than watch most offices in operation for a couple of hours to identify wasteful and unnecessary paper usage. There is much that we can contribute to improve office procedures to use “less paper”.
From the software design standpoint, a critical review of reports which get run regularly might indicate that certain data is never used, and by eliminating the data paper volume may be reduced as much as 60% — that’s a serious savings over time, and probably well worth the investment to change the report. Also with regard to reports — has the capability to print to disk, pdf or maybe fax been made available for the report? How many times I’ve seen reports first printed to the laser printer, then brought to the fax machine to be sent! (Then the report put into the waste paper basket!). Another IT suggestion may be the investment required to provide duplexing printers — using half the paper per print job! What a concept! Yet another possible contribution to “less paper” can be incorporating a document imaging system or scanning into an application.
I suspect there are many opportunites that you can identify in your organization where a little bit of creative IT (Intuitive Thinking) can result in the “less paper” office — but paperless? Forget it!.