As technology advances and we begin to realize its potential, we must also look at the short and long term impacts it will have on the environment. For example, using plastic bottles in place of glass. Glass would seem much greener in that the bottles would be returned to the store and in return you would get a few cents back for each one. These bottles would then be sent back to the beverage supplier to be washed, sanitized, and reused. Granted there were other issues such as breakage leading to potential hazards of cutting someone, but they were nonetheless, recycled for reuse.
Plastic bottles are much more convenient, won’t break, and can simply be disposed of. Of course it is the “disposed of” that presents the challenge. The impact it has on the environment is becoming a major challenge in that plastic bottles don’t breakdown quickly – if at all. The are now being seen as a major pollutant, floating on the shores of rivers, lakes, and the oceans. They can be found in forests, cities, and mountains just lying there, discarded by humans. Convenient? Yes. A growing, unplanned for issue? Yes.
My point here is that there are many positives for technology advancement and use, but we must also consider and plan for the impact this will have and make accommodations to prepare for the impact it will have – even in the office. While the type of ecological impact described in the above scenarios may not directly relate to an office environment, it does apply to the implementation and impact new technology will have on your information ecosystem.
People and processes will be immediately impacted with implications for long term effects. Technology introduced into a business organization must not be viewed as a one-time event but as a planned and carefully orchestrated program with an eye on continuous improvement to prepare and accommodate the ever changing business landscape and regulatory requirements regarding the management and protection of the data you hold.
We do many things in both our personal and business lives that impacts those people and places around us. The key to improvement, quality, and longevity, is to take care of our ecosystems whether they be information or environmental. By all means, we should adopt and use technology. At the same time, we must use it intelligently and plan for the impact in order to address it and manage it before it becomes an issue.