Thursday, June 25, 2009

Zero INFO Footprint: PRINT me not! FILE me not! SHARE me yes! MOBILE me yes!

I read somewhere that a file size of 100 Mega Bytes is equal to _____ Tons of CO2 emissions. Man, thats a stretch. To play devils advocate, lets see the global impact of information. It is obvious that information doesn't flow freely - it needs infrastructure like, hardware, space, cables, security, ofcourse money and so forth... so companies always look for a smaller info footprint. But how could organizational practices reduce info footprint?

The next time you recieve an email or other electronic information ask yourself is this information GREEN? So, What the heck is a GREEN information? Its a far stretch but lets explore for fun....

How many of you have or have seen email signatures with "please think twice before printing this email" or some version of this message? Ok! a lot of you. I used to as well. But what's the point? By saving that one print we may attempt to save a paper but the real culprit is in the nature of flow of information in our lives.

Ok! I am mostly talking about professional information flow which dwarfs the personal information flow in memory size. As we all know, information say a doc or pdf flows through the organization network via emails and gets stored multiple times in multiple servers.

So you may say, a centralized server and emails with no attachments but links would work in reducing the network clutter. But the problem is not only information in form of documents but also in form of emails.

Even though you could overcome the network clutter and duplication by centralized servers and organizational policies for linking in lieu of attaching docs, the information regarding such documents' existance and/or usefulness for the organization is burried in an email.

So what I am talking about is nothing new.... Many software companies like Microsoft have pioneered in this area and developed many brilliant software applications like Sharepoint to enable peer to peer information flow within and outside organization thus acting as one single repository of information.

But what I think completes the circle and really makes such information GREEN is its accessibility. How often have you printed a document with 20 pages just to take it to a meeting? Everyday right?

Taking information with you via a laptop allows you to readily access such information and avoids printing. Netbooks is today's new invention and I believe they will allow for a company to have a smaller INFO footprint and much more greener information flow.

I have one of these first generation netbooks and I simply can't be without it. Along with the netbook, I purchased this software called OneNote that allows me to take quick notes and track research for multiple projects all in my Netbook. So far in my 6 months of use with netbook and onenote, I have successfully avoided filing 6 projects and all extra-curricular activities...

So even though it is a far stretch, imagine if an entire organization runs on mobile platforms (ofcourse supplementing your desktop production machines) with immediate access to information.... then thats when the organization can use all their time to creativity as opposed to data mining! Happy sharing green info!


Marsha Crockett said...

Great ideas, Prem. I think what scares people is the concern of what happens if the Netbook or laptop fails and they're left with no hard copies. I know, I know, it's all about the backup copy to restore what may get lost. I guess there really is no guarantee of saving hard copies either if you consider issues such as mishandling of the documents (misfiling). Or filing properly but not having a system to catalogue so you can remember and retrieve what you have. Or good all damage by the elements.

I guess the safest storage is in our own brains, and we all know the inherent dangers with that!

Thanks for the post. Keep us moving onward in being the change.


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