If you want to be paperless, eat your own dog food

By Daniel O'Leary posted 09-22-2011 19:39


I'm writing this on my iPad, high above California, returning from a conference to which I was invited to present. It was an amazing event save for one oddity: ECM and capture resellers, customers and vendors still rely heavily on paper, almost comically so.

At first I thought this particular vendor was just messing with me, baiting me to get my typical reaction to hearing about the use of paper, a reaction I could classify as ... restrained belligerence, usually materialized as a series of deep, indifferent sighs.

They were still handling out paper receipts, paper schedules, PowerPoint handouts and high-gloss product brochures. It was a cornucopia of paper creation and consumption at a conference on capturing paper and designing digital processes; everything was absolutely inundated with paper.

In many ways, it felt like walking past a Weight Watchers meeting sponsored by Little Debbie. 

Torn between laughing and crying, I pointed this out to the staff, who had no problem with this contradiction. They claimed that paper was "easier" and "faster," then immediately went and taught a class on electronic forms and enterprise capture. While I cannot practice this level of cognitive dissonance, it seems like many in the industry can, and that deeply disturbs me.

If we ever want to move to a paperless world, we must lead by example and do as my Canadian pals say and, "Eat our own dog food." If some of you read this and it hits close to home, take action and start doing something about it. Do you think Steve Ballmer uses an iPad? No. Then why are you still using paper? 

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