True ECM savings…#2

28 05 2009

So this is part two if you like in my look at savings ECM solutions can bring to your organisation. In my first post I looked at costs associated with a number of typical tasks, such as filing documents, locating them etc. In this post I want to look at issues with replication of documents within an organisation and some green credentials of ECM.

Typical replication costs

How many times does a particular document get printed out? According to statistics this happens on average 19 times per document! Now that’s a lot. Let’s think of some quick costs associated with that:

  1. Physical paper
  2. Printer toner
  3. Moving physical paper around the world
  4. Environment
  5. Security

Physical paper costs, well if you are printing the same 10 page document 19 times, that cost starts to add up. Now let’s say you store in excess of 100,000 documents, each with just 2 pages (I know, many documents will have a lot more than 2 pages). That’s some 200,000 pieces of paper. What’s that physical paper cost alone to your organisation?

So, how much toner are you using if you are printing on some 200,000 pieces of paper, just for document duplication? Again, that’s not cheap.

It’s also worth mentioning that a lot of this document printing comes around internally within the organisation. It’s not a by product of scanning correspondence from customers for example. More than 80% of documents printed in offices come from digital environments, such as Microsoft Word. This is an awful fact, something that ECM solutions can remove.

Let’s start thinking about costs regarding moving that paper around. Just think if you had to move only a third of that paper we were duplicating, so that’s some 66,666 pieces of paper. How much would it cost you to physically move that around? How much to post that for example? With postage you can see a real actual cost associated, but what about the cost you have to pay for people in your organisation to move it around. How much is that in time, and as a proportion of salary?

Now we come to something that is hard to measure, the environmental cost. All this cutting down of trees for paper alone is a pretty big impact. It is estimated that 768 million trees are cut down each year for paper production alone! Now how much energy is used turning those 768 million trees into paper and what’s the carbon footprint of that alone? This “footprint” continues to grow when you look at your toner and the fuel associated to move that paper around the world.

What about the security cost of that paper? Document security is always something in the background when talking about physical paper. Why? With physical paper you are so much more vulnerable to content being read when it shouldn’t, content being lost or shared when it shouldn’t. What cost can you place on particular documents and their content? One obvious cost is that of not meeting compliance for your industry. But what cost could it have to your organisations if that document content was shared when it shouldn’t be?

The ECM savings…

This will be simple. If you store documents electronically, in an ECM solution, and then share and distribute them electronically, almost all of the costs above are removed from your organisation. You can enforce these savings by limiting who can print what content. This may sound “harsh” but often users are used to just printing files to read them, then bin them. This isn’t a good practice and is expensive to your organisation.

Not only are there lots of savings to be made, remember that these savings automatically promote efficiency gains and additional productivity. With an ECM solution, your users can quickly access the documents all of the time.

When we look at document security, there is a wealth of security features available with all ECM offerings. Though these savings may not be as easy to calculate, they are none the less there.


Quick conclusion

You can make massive cost savings by simply removing paper replication, and while making these savings you promote increased efficiency and productivity throughout your organisation.

Finally, a massive reduction for your organisation and in general is that made to your organisations carbon footprint. By removing the dependency on physical paper and the associated costs (such as trees being felled, fuel to move trees and turn them into paper, fuel to move physical paper etc) you drastically reduce your carbon footprint and impact on the environment.



2 responses

28 05 2009

I like a couple of your points. Being a business owner myself there is one point in particular that grabs my attention. Being able to limit who can print out documents is a great way of reducing excessive use of our printers. Harsh it may be but you want to see what goes through our shredder at the end of the day. I can’t even begin to think what we could save.

Its a shame that a ‘consider the enviroment before printing’ warning isn’t enough, maybe one day it will be.

14 09 2009
The DocuMentor mobile edition

[…] good with numbers, but something tells me that we could be a little nicer to the environment. At Andrew One Degree’s Blog, Andrew notes that 768 million trees are cut down per year just for paper production. He talks […]

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