Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Green Information Management

By Mark Brousseau

Reduce, reuse, recycle is the green mantra that gained a lot of currency in the 1980s. Today, a large number of enterprises are aggressively pursuing 3R policies, covering everything from paper usage and disposal practices to energy usage and water consumption.

As Green IT moves from the notion of a paperless office into a mainstream corporate social responsibility, CIOs are now also identifying ways in which to minimize the corporate carbon footprint and at the same time achieve their strategic business objectives.

Stuart Butts, a founding member and director of Xenos Group, Inc., says there is, however, one other area that demands equal consideration by organizations: managing structured and unstructured data and documents. Very often enterprises will hold the same information in a variety of different electronic formats and in different physical locations to meet different requirements, Butts notes. Multiple silos of information in technologically incompatible systems mean that information cannot be shared in real time. In addition, this approach consumes inordinate amounts of storage space and the associated costs that go with that.

With the explosive growth in data and documents, Butts says the time has come to apply reduce, reuse and recycle thinking to electronic business information. Embracing a more strategic, ‘green’ approach to information management will deliver a number of benefits, not the least of which is a dramatic reduction in the cost and complexity of power-consuming storage requirements, he believes.

Butts says there are a number of specific offerings that can help to reduce storage demands by eliminating redundancy and simplifying access to business critical information in real time. These include archiving, content migration and consolidation tools that enable real-time, on-demand transformation of customer statements and other key documents contained in electronic print files to PDFs for ePresentment.

By eliminating the constraints imposed by incompatible hardware or software platforms and disparate data and document archives, Xenos has helped organizations to reduce, reuse and recycle their data and documents to lower costs and improve information flow, Butts notes.

On-demand transformation to PDF format allows organizations to eliminate the unnecessary storage of large, graphically rich files, while streamlining version control with a technique known as “document resource optimization”. For some, this approach has effectively reduced storage requirements by as much as 90 percent, Butts says. Given that many large enterprises are spending as much as 70 percent of their IT budgets on their storage infrastructures, it’s time to apply reduce, reuse, and recycle thinking to data and storage needs, he adds.

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