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Posted on Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 10:10 a.m.

Ann Arbor's Whole Brain Group uses software to reduce University of Michigan office paper consumption

By Nathan Bomey

Which part of the brain addresses proper paper usage?

For the Whole Brain Group, an Ann Arbor-based customized software development company, the best route to achieving meaningful paper savings is through digital applications that help clients share information more efficiently.

The firm recently completed development of a Web-based system to allow the University of Michigan’s president’s office to more efficiently track nominations for honorary degrees typically awarded at commencement ceremonies.

The process historically involves a mountain of paperwork or a confusing string of e-mailed applications - or both.

The company’s heavy emphasis on software development that helps eliminate paperwork is marketed as a plus for the environment and for efficient business practices. The average office worker wastes an average of 126 pounds of paper annually, the company estimates.

“Everybody’s got a list of things that they know they should be doing at their office. The more time you’re spending doing things that computers should be doing for you, the less time you’re spending doing things that you should be doing,” said Marisa Smith, president of the Whole Brain Group.

As the economic crisis causes companies to scrutinize ever dollar of their budgets, office supplies often tend to be targeted for cuts.

But companies often don’t realize that the easiest way to slash supplies spending is by investing in technology that eliminates the need for such supplies.

“They don’t understand how much they’re spending” on supplies, Smith said.

Nathan Bomey is a reporter for Ann Arbor Business Review.