Paper as the starting point of an ECM strategy?

As the name says, ECM (Enterprise Content Management) is about managing the total content of the entire organisation. As people who are working in IT, we tend to limit our focus about electronic content only; namely electronic files, scanned images, emails etc.. But what about physical documents?

I think any ECM strategy should start from considering about managing of paper documents in the organisation, since most of the content will become a paper document at some stage of it’s lifecycle. The paperless office that everyone was talking about (and still talks about) may not be a reality soon. Also managing of paper documents has gained more consideration due to the increasing printing expenses and “Go-green” initiatives that take place at present.

There are lot of things that one needs to consider about physical document management. I will start with one most simple yet very important factor to consider; paper sizes.

As we all know paper documents come in different sizes and in different nature. The standardisation of measurement of paper started by a mathematician named Georg Lichtenberg, in Germany and later adopted and supported by ISO. (This is an interesting article about the history of paper sizes here )

Some interesting facts to know;

1. There is a relationship between the width and the length of a standard paper which is; Length = 1.414 * Width (1 to the square root of 2).

2. One square metre is taken as the starting point of measuring, which is called the size A0, the remaining sizes are calculated by halving the preceding size.

3. Almost all industrialised countries adopt ISO – 216 as the standard for measuring paper sizes except US and Canada. 🙂

In my next post I will write about the importance of considering the paper sizes when planning an ECM strategy.

(paperonweb is a good reference site for more information regarding paper sizes as well as anything related to paper.)

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