Ever think about global warming, air pollution and dying out populations of polar bears? Or whether your grandchildren will be able to leave the house without an oxygen mask?

Yes, we are back onto the environment-friendly, green track. There’s a lot that can be done both at home (think recycling) and at work (not surprisingly, think content management).

There are multiple advantages to a green(er) enterprise. With green IT practices being strategic this year, businesses can not only control costs and efficiency, but also reap environmental benefits.

Effective Use of Enterprise Content Management is Key

Recently, Gartner offered its take on six strategic areas in which enterprise content management can deliver both green benefits and business efficiencies.

Effective use of enterprise content management tools can be instrumental in those efforts.

The analyst firm's Enterprise Content Management Strategies for Green IT report highlights:

  • The use of electronic document management to reduce the need for paper documents.
  • Strategic approach to ECM efforts
  • Consolidation of applications and multiple systems
  • Usage of content-enabled vertical applications (CEVA's) to automate complex processes where possible.
  • Reduction of wasted server time in running duplicated information
  • Repository consolidation
  • Maximized efficiency of infrastructure

In other words, "Move away from smaller departmental nooks and crannies in which information is often trapped rather than being accessible throughout the enterprise," advises the firm. Outsourcing certain elements of an ECM system can also bring green benefits, Gartner says.

Simple Solutions, Big Impact

Just by storing documents electronically rather than on paper, organizations will be able to reduce the energy associated with paper manufacturing and distribution. Add to that the required air conditioning to preserve paper-storage environments and half the planet can be saved.

There is a plethora of vendors like IBM, FileMark, eDocXL and Version One -- to name just a few -- already on the path of offering greener alternatives to your usual ECM activities and the likes of document and records management.

So what are you waiting for?