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From the author of Technology Cost of Managing Data

Technology Cost of Managing Data

Of course, we must also consider the costs involved in the technology needed to manage data and become paperless: installing and managing IT systems, cost of equipment, energy use, and time and manpower needed for setting up paperless processes and procedures. Companies must consider the long-term value and return on investment of a robust paperless IT system and process. In reality, however, technology cost is inherent today with or without paper. But without paper, costs can go down considerably. A mere 150GB hard drive has storage capacity equivalent to that of 70 filing cabinets—at less than $200 for the hard drive. Cost of filing cabinets and floor space for those 70 filing cabinets? $22,000! IT professionals clearly see the cost savings in going paperless, in a KRC Research report, respondents chose paper management as the top cost-reduction initiative.

Document management programs are becoming an increasingly useful tool to reduce paper dependency, but there are many ways to reduce paper. Citigroup determined that if each of its employees used double-sided copying to conserve just one sheet of paper each week, the firm would save $700,000 each year. Bank of America cut its paper consumption by 25% in two years, simply by increasing the use of online forms and reports, double-sided copying, and lighter-weight paper. Companies need to examine the ways in which paper is used; then, with simple waste-reduction options such as changing printer settings, paper costs can be reduced almost immediately.

Paper is an enormous cost to companies and an even higher cost to the environment. Configuring a company's paper cost is the first step in understanding the company's dependence on paper. Once these costs are calculated, a company can begin to take appropriate measures to reduce paper.

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