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In UAE, We Love Our Paperwork! January 31, 2012

Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Capture, Electronic Records Management, Enterprise Content Management.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I am someone who rarely bookmarks web pages. However, in September 2011, I could not resist but bookmark a very interesting article. And when it’s titled, “UAE paper use among highest in the world”, how could an aspiring Information Management professional resist.

In football, UAE would have been proud to be on the same status as Italy or Spain. At 200 kg per capita annual consumption of paper, this is not a statistic we should be proud of sharing with them. The significant factor here, though, is that UAE’s consumption is increasing at an average of 5-6% while those of North America and Europe are reducing at 1.8%. We may soon find the world following our paper trails.

The intention of Go Green is very much evident in the visions of the leadership of this country and is reflected in this historical resolution by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and the launch of the ambitious Masdar City by under the leadership of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Yet, when it comes to implementations, most organizations have taken a backward step with layoffs and budget cuts in their ECM programs citing recession as the reason.  Businesses are still to realize that paper-related costs are not limited to your A4 bundles but also in storage, safety and logistics and it’s a case of being Penny Wise and Pound Foolish.

As an AIIM Ambassador and its Professional Member since 2009, I am extremely disappointed with myself that UAE’s paper consumption is on the rise, especially since document management technologies have been around for around 2 decades. One look at the comments section of this article highlights that the general public is in a cure mode of recycling rather than the prevention mode of adopting DMS or ECM systems.

It is time for the ECM community in the UAE to come together to promote the business and social advantages. Then again, with direct vendor presence from leading players in the domain like IBM, OpenText, EMC, HP (Autonomy) et al, why do I not find enough education or awareness campaigns in the market?

Perhaps, and this is my speculation, is that this is because the UAE is more represented by License-pushers and pure technocrats. The management of content from a business perspective is a gap found wanting in this market.  We need more Enterprise Content Managers and less ECM license salesmen.

Until then, UAE will continue to love its “paper” work.


1. Acton - February 29, 2012

You have a point there, Sanooj. While paperless solutions like document management software are marketed by developers, resellers etc., there is also a need to raise awareness levels among business organizations. As a case in point, Globodox is one solution offered in Dubai by Catsys Computers. Globodox can not only help organizations digitize their documents, but also automate their business processes to maximize efficiency. But what can add to the success of such solutions providers is opinion leadership among the corporate sector IT Managers. They are the ones who know the true value of ECM/EDMS. If they can pick up the benefits offered by solutions like Globodox and interpret them for their respective managements and in industry forums, we could soon see the UAE adopt the preventive approach you mention in your article.

Sanooj Kutty - March 2, 2012

Thanks Acton.
Although you have made an attempt to hard sell Globodox through your comment ;), I would have to disagree that ECM/EDMS solutions need the buy in of corporate IT managers. Those days are long over and that is why you an umpteen number of DMS solutions available i the market because IT management have accepted such solutions.

That big hurdle even today is applying this in daily practice and that’s a business concern and not an IT concern. No IT manager can ever influence a business manager to reduce paper consumption within their department… ever.

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