Greener IT & a chance of smarter business

By: Sushant Dwivedy, Director – Global Document Outsourcing at Xerox India 

The last decade has witnessed tech innovation that dominates any human development unlike anything we have seen before. While complexities of technology continue to evolve with the evolution of technology itself, we have been fairly successful developing mutually complementary solutions that not only address various technological needs but also in turn generate new opportunities.

But what enterprises quite often overlook is the need for technologies to not only enable business efficiency but also sustainability. Green IT. It’s a buzzword we hear often, as many businesses — ranging from big to small — are hyping up their green initiatives.

There is a selfless purpose to sustainable business practices — after all, it’s a conscious effort to preserve the environment that we all share and future generations will need. But it can also have a positive impact on a business, namely reducing costs and helping to make its workflow more efficient.

Adding to this, lean economic times have forced companies to rethink how they work, and green initiatives fall right in line with their needs.

Focusing on ‘paper’, it is amazing to see that technology is yet to find its replacement. The reason stands that paper is not just a hanger-on from an earlier era, rather paper is still an important medium in work because it is well suited, better suited than many current technologies, for certain tasks. The “affordances of paper are about what people can do with paper” but the costs of paper documents are problematic after the documents are generated. Printing costs are minimal compared to the start-up fees of new technology however after a company has accrued a large mass of paper documents, storage and maintenance is incredibly costly.

While building a long-term sustainability strategy is a more complex endeavor, but if the short-term results are any indication, the potential long-term impact of “going green” can be tremendous — for the environment, businesses, and customers alike. One such step companies are moving towards is the deployment of Document Management Services.

But where does the need arise? Lately, it seems that businesses and employees are shying away from printing for fear that they’re wreaking havoc on the environment. According to over 60% of large enterprises planned initiatives to reduce paper document volume (IDC report). Every page not printed makes a difference – less waste! It’s easier to print less because we have access to an electronic copy of almost everything we read on a daily basis giving us the freedom to read documents on our laptops, phones, tablets and so on.

But “Greener” at any cost is not sustainable in the long run, so your efforts must be economically based. The good news is when you remove process inefficiencies, such as certain environmental impacts, you reduce your costs. Concentrate your efforts on things that are material to the growth of your company, and the sustainable development of the world.

Over the past decade, many organizations have turned to managed print services (MPS) engagements as a way to cut costs and gain efficiencies related to office printing and hardcopy output devices. These initiatives may be driven internally, though organizations may also partner with a managed print and document services (MPDS) provider (like Xerox) to outsource the optimization and ongoing management of their printing infrastructure. Either way, organizations need to define and control their print and document management strategy to ensure continuous innovation and productivity/cost improvements.

Document management services play a crucial role in enabling operations and its contribution to productivity and efficiency of the organization. Within the cost / benefit and utility analysis of existing paper vs. electronic processes a distinction can be made between good paper and bad paper, good is that which integrates in to the more efficient framework when a thorough research and assessment of the current state is undertaken to envision and plan the enhanced office of the future.

By taking control of the end-to-end processes for each document, applying Six Sigma methodologies, processes and using market-leading solutions and services, companies can not only ensure that the entire lifecycle of documents is managed using appropriate technology in adherence to appropriate standards – but reduce prints all together.

The solutions go a step beyond cost savings and help:

  • Reduce unwanted/wasted printing and associated costs with pull-printing technology

  • Enable electronic delivery of application output, reducing paper and consumables usage

  • Provide print usage reports so organizations can educate users about their printing behavior and implement policies to reduce consumption of paper and consumables

Another technology that is revolutionizing the industry is Supply Chain Management (optimization) processes that take report data from multiple, disconnected sources, digitizes and analyzes the information, and serves it up in easy-to-understand formats at the point of need.

These solutions allow:

  • Reduction in labor costs and stocking delays by automatically reconciling reporting data from manufacturers, distributors and retail stores.

  • Faster decision making across the entire supply chain with built-in feedback loops and alerts.

  • Enhanced cash flow with faster, more accurate invoice reconciliation.

  • Reduction in operational costs by printing less.

But it is essential for paperless processes to be carefully designed. They not just need to be easy to use but also easy to understand by people with a wide range of skill and requirements. Implementing a poorly designed solution with difficult or confusing interface tends to be counterproductive. This results in frustration and returning to printing documents.

To avoid this, after several months of development, Xerox launched Print Awareness Tool. It is the first calculator to measure the impact of print decisions at the user level. It has graphics and visuals to display the environmental and cost impacts of an intended print action. It suggests a more preferable action from a sustainability perspective. The tool can be personalized to include tips to reduce printing, and it lends itself to gamification. While objectives around the reduction of paper volume and print volume are importance, their success rate depends on changes in print policy by an organization and end-user change management. With the Xerox Supply Chain Optimization solution, you can:

  • Reduce labor costs and stocking delays by automatically reconciling reporting data from manufacturers, distributors and retail stores.
  • Improve fill rates and reorder time through better supply chain insight.
  • Drive faster decision making across the entire supply chain with built-in feedback loops and alerts.
  • Enhance cash flow with faster, more accurate invoice reconciliation.
  • Reduce operational costs by printing less.

What is most striking is that even where MPDS is deployed, oftentimes there is still opportunity for additional gains through process reengineering and further automation of document-intensive processes. Organizations should work with vendors to not only replace paper-based workflows with digital alternatives but also seek opportunities for new business process models that further streamline and optimize these processes through technology and automation.

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Sushant Dwivedy is responsible in leading teams to drive enterprise solution sales, development, delivery and support for solutions and services. At Xerox India, he plays a pivotal role in implementing strategies for incubating and augmenting business in the document management services space across verticals especially covering customers across BFSI, Telecom, Manufacturing and IT/ITES.

With over 20 years of experience, Sushant is an industry veteran with a deep understanding of the Indian IT industry with focus on Government, BFSI and Telecom sector.

Most recently, Sushant was heading client relations and regional sales – South & West at Xerox India. He has previously been associated with Microsoft Corporation India and Avaya and holds a strong background in solution and services sales. Further, he has established and sustained vibrant partner networks in the industry and carries experience in product planning, brand building and launching products and solutions.

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