I was indicating that I was rather disappointed not have a good technology topic for a while, and would you believe it but they both cover the topic of printing, a good old fashioned technology that was supposed to die as the ‘paperless office’ took over. Now, Green IT has really put this back on the table again as a ‘sexy’ topic, and printers everywhere sport labels asking if its really necessary to print this item.
I find this a great example of the real problem, the way we work is the issue, and in the case of the labels they are pretty useless as the only time we visit a printer is when we have already sent something to the printer to print. Well I suppose we might be in time to hit the ‘cancel the job’ button, but really the time when you see the warning is when your are collecting your printing.
That’s what makes me bring up eCopy who, though they are not that new, having been founded in 1992, may be just getting to hit their stride as Green IT drives more interest, and they have now got some new partners. Put incredibly simply eCopy integrates digital and paper based workflows using a single interface to integrate the paper element into the enterprise IT systems using what they describe as a Multi-Functional Peripherals, MFPs. The kick up has come by Cannon, Toshiba, Sharp, HP, Konica, Minolta, ND Ricoh all deciding to support this approach thus making any of their ‘paper processing’ products able to be shared and part of the digital workflow. You can follow the details on the eCopy site.
Why it appealed to me was that I got a call about supporting an event on Green Computing, and the day before a call about a government institutive to be more ‘Green’ in their use of IT. Both depressingly started around the data centre as the big issue, though I am not saying there wasn’t any interest in other topics, but it has always seemed to me that we are not asking the real question. I.e. it’s not about restricting, or rationing, what we can currently do, it’s about finding a better way of doing it in the first place.
That’s why I like the eCopy solution; it’s elegant in its simplicity and focuses on the real issue which is how to make the end to end process more effective so that users will want to adopt it as an improvement to the way they work. If you haven’t seen eCopy and you are worrying about putting a green element in your plan for 2008 here is a potential quick win in my book. But my real issue is that we can’t just accept these arguments to cut/virtualise the data centre as ‘the’ answer, we need to re examine how we work and adopt different less wasteful ways of working. And that doesn’t always mean complicated new technology it can be pretty simple and basic stuff.