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How Green is your Workflow – A Government Mandate! September 4, 2008

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Advocacy, Blog, Commentary.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I am attending a Government coordinated Green IT Taskforce meeting today, (Which, by the way, is a very hot topic in Public Sector circles), and I can’t help thinking that while a lot of the Green IT agenda focuses on reducing the carbon footprint of our industry (recycling friendly components, lower energy consumption, etc), not enough emphasis is placed on the ‘Green’ benefits of workflow solutions.

So if nothing else in today’s meeting, I would really like to get one point on the agenda.

1. Workflow & Collaboration Solutions are good for the environment – Mandate their Use in Government


First, consider the reduction of paper use… That is good for our forests, and reducing the need to recycle paper (energy use etc)

Second, consider the efficiencies of human activity. This leads to more efficient use of computing and operational resources (reducing power consumption, and fuel costs for transporting paper and people from office to office)

Third, ancillary collaborative technologies that support workflow (like Instant Messaging, teleconferencing, document web-stores and team collaboration spaces) all help reduce our carbon footprint (Fuel & energy cost reduction, reduction of paper use & storage)

It would also be a great benefit to the IT Industry if Government Agencies mandated a “Green” move to workflow and online eForm solutions.

I am constantly frustrated by the need for a paper based service delivered by our Public Sector agencies, some 20 odd years after workflow technologies first came into existance.

There are no obstacles, legislative, privacy, or security that prevent moves to workflow solutions today (certainly not in any juristictions I reside in).

So this is my Call to Arms…

“Governments, Mandate a Green move by your Agencies to Workflow and Collaborative Services – No More Paper”

Why not feel free to pass the message on to any Government sponsored “Green Initiatives” you may be aware of in your part of the World.

As a footnote… If anyone is aware of research that quantifies how green Workflow processes are, I would be very interested in being pointed in the right direction…


Glenn Irvine



1. Ian Louw - September 5, 2008

Some interesting points that you have raised.

In my experience organisations tend to be very tactical in the way they implement process automation. This is largely due to the amorphous and pervasive nature of the business process in a complex organisational structure.

Workflow normally gets implemented based on an immediate tactical business pain that needs to be resolved and therefore can deliver immediate and tangible business value (ROI). Typical examples of initiatives can include cost reduction, increased efficiencies, regulatory compliance etc. These are well understood and therefore can be quantified.

I think organisations are still getting to grips with what ‘Green IT’ is and therefore making a tangible business case for automation in this context is not yet a priority, but may become more common place in future.

Mandating automation is a way of introducing it but I anticipate organisations will be asking:

‘what is in it for us?’,
‘where is the value?’ and
‘how do we manage the behavioural and organisational change?’.

2. Automating ‘Green IT’ « Business Process Management (BPM) - InSights - September 5, 2008

[…] Process Automation, Random BPM & Related Thoughts, Workflow trackback I came across an article in which the author raised some interesting points about how process automation can contribute to […]

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