Efficient Printing, Not Just Less Printing
The focus of Xerox’s Digital Alternatives seems to be less about reducing printing for purely ecological reasons and more about coordinating the multiple versions of documents spread across the diverse platforms of a business enterprise. (These would include the PDF, HTML, and epub versions read on desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.) The goal is to reduce needless printing.
According to Xerox (as quoted in the article), Digital Alternatives “automates paper-based workflows that exist within any large organization” such that “Digital Alternatives users can easily sign, annotate, share, save and read documents from one interface.”
This allows office workers and mobile workers to coordinate their paper-based data, their digital data, and their messaging within both the Windows and Macintosh computing environments, while at the same time providing analytics (applications that show exactly how data and content are used) to turn this data into meaningful, actionable information. This makes business more efficient, and from reading this article, I believe that efficiency is the goal to which Xerox/s Digital Alternatives really is striving.
Xerox makes it clear that printed marketing and sales materials are still essential in business and communications. However, linking the information in the printed product and the purely digital information actually enhances the entire business process, particularly when this information is accessible on all computer devices.
In short, connectivity and data integration facilitate communication while reducing waste.
And It’s Green, Too
Xerox’s Digital Alternatives initiative, and the whole concept of reducing unnecessary printing, will reduce the carbon footprint of businesses. This is true, and this is a major goal of Xerox as well. To encourage employees to participate, the Digital Alternatives application includes “gamification” software (software that makes a competitive game out of reducing waste). Employees in offices using Xerox Digital Alternatives can track their reduced printing as well as compare their print reduction to that of others.