“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

Some say it was penned by environmental activist Wendell Berry, while others credit Moss Cass, former member of Australian House of Representatives, some even believe it to be a Native American proverb. The origin of the saying might be disputed but no one can question its righteousness.

For decades now, countries and individuals have been taking our planet for granted, the levels of pollution and deforestation has increased many folds. Almost, 2.5 million trees are cut down each day for paper alone. Estimates suggest that by 2020, paper mills will be producing 500,000,000 tons of paper and paperboard each year! Along with fast depleting forest our paper dependency is costing us air, water and soil pollution.

Paper Woes –Is Everybody’s Business!

While, the seemingly harmless paper is causing so much damage to our environment very little is being done to eliminate this dependency. Such excessive use of paper in our Organizations comes at steep financial cost of procuring and printing. Moreover, the process of storing, editing, and sharing of physical documents is time-consuming and painstaking. But most unsettling is the thought of a natural or man-made calamity destroying all our physical records. What the environment and business need today is a method storing and retrieving documents that would be efficient and yet, not harmful to the environment.

Is ECM our Captain Planet?

Imagine a world where paper was so obsolete that nobody ever used or need it; it would be Green World, right! Enterprise Content Management is helping organizations around the globe in making earth Greener by enabling them to collect, store, distribute, and retrieve information without or with minimal use of paper.

In absence of a robust ECM system, the organizations reliance on paper would be considerably high. For an example, getting a new mobile phone number would require you to fill out a multi-page application on paper and share photocopies on your address proof. Your local telecom vendor would then fill out another set of applications, make a record of the transaction on a register and then send out photocopies of your original form for verification. The entire process of applying for a phone number, submitting proofs, verification of identity, and final activation of the SIM card, would take up to a fortnight and involve a humongous amount of wasted paper at each level.

But in today’s ECM backed world, you can get a new connection activated within matter of 48 hours, all you need to do is go to store, tell your information, show your identification proof, and count till 10. The information is recorded in an online form, photograph of the ID proof is clicked, and then they are digitally sent to the verification team. This team can now retrieve this stored data, approve or disapprove your application. The approved applicant details can also be shared with the customer care team for plan discussions.

This way the telecom service provider not only reduces the lead-time, employee effort, and business cost, but also helps in preserving the environment with paperless transactions.

Rescuing with the 4Cs

Enterprise Content Management is saving businesses and environment alike with the following benefits:-

  • Collaboration – It is an information hub where documents, data, images, emails, social media content, etc can be stored together and accessed by various stakeholders. It brings different functions of an organization on the same page without cutting a tree.
  • Cost – If time is money, then wasting time over data is wasting money. ECM enables organizations to collect, search, retrieve, and share information instantaneously. It also reduces ecological cost with no or minimal use of paper.
  • Compliance – with ECM the business can set rules for adherence to set laws and requirements both internal and external.
  • Continuity – ECM ensures that the flow of information in an organization continues, as soon as an action is completed at one level the next is immediately alerted of the upcoming task. It also safeguards crucial records against any form of calamity.

Towards a Greener World

Enterprise Content Management is a step towards sustainable development and co-existence of business and nature. It not only benefits the organizations by providing a safe-haven for all its information but also protects the environment by reducing use and re-use of paper. On one hand, ECM enables organizations to have an edge over the competition by potently capturing, collecting, storing, and retrieving data; on the other hand, it helps them in paying back to the society. It won’t be too far-fetched to say that ECM protects both the heart of our Organization – the content and the soul of our Earth – the trees.