Today I listened to an IBM presentation by Craig Rhinehart, Director Product Strategy, Compliance & Discovery, and to say it was a bit of an awakening is an understatement.
The subject of the presentation was IBM’s “No Paper Weight” assessment service, designed to help organizations who are still printing and using paper-based information, (guess that is most of us) manage the challenge of using, transporting, and storing large amounts of paper.
Did you know that:
- 50% of the world’s information still lives on paper;
- The volume of paper is increasing by 20% per year;
- Paper currently occupies 30% to 40% of landfill space;
- Storing paper in a warehouse is a $52B industry.
With our fascination of storing and managing digitally formatted data, I think we (at least I) may have forgotten about this elephant in the room. Admittedly I talk as a member of the digital crowd; this problem is far from a surprise to corporate librarians.
The significance of the paper problem was highlighted by the results of a recent electronic discovery project IBM conducted for the DuPont Company. When the legal discovery results of nine cases were analyzed, it was discovered that of the 75.45M pages of information that were reviewed only 37.7M were found to contain data that had past its obligatory retention period. The failure to adhere to the corporate retention policies resulted in an unnecessary review cost of $11.96M and a potential liability that could have created more impactful and unfortunate consequences.
Another factoid presented was that three multinational companies IBM talked with printed email which was eventually scanned back into their archive system along with the manual input of the descriptive metadata as a common practice! Mindboggling!! If 90% of information is born digital (email) why can’t it just stay that way?
Next week I will be presenting at SNW on the subject of holistic approaches to green storage. How appropriate to have such a discussion on the most of traditional storage mediums, paper.
Action Item: Borrowing from Craig's presentation here are some actions to make paper smarter …
1. Convert to digital format and extract paper-based information as early as possible in the business cycle. Information is not just a valuable commodity for the litigator; it is a valuable business commodity. By converting the information analytics can be applied and who knows what advantage can be gained.
2. Stop unnecessary printing of information that is born digitally. How many times do you go into meeting to find 50 copies of a 50-page presentation neatly bound and unlikely ever to be read.
3. Track your information, retain only for as long as necessary, then destroy. With paper-based data, be green and recycle!
4. Data has value. The wealth of paper-based data within an enterprise should be analyzed and leveraged for business advantage. Remember however, data also carries a liability and should be destroyed appropriately and early.