The people over at Gartner (news, site), bless their hearts, want to help everyone implementing an enterprise content management solution save some money.

The advice is more than welcome, considering how pricey the process typically is on top of the fact that we’re experiencing a time in which IT budgets are especially tight. Tony Bell, Gartner’s research vice president, has identified six different ways to deal:

Tidy up

Before diving into business process management, or implementation of any kind, search and destroy duplicate content. Likewise, toss what you think you can live without. The key here is to pare down your data until you don’t have anything left but what’s essential.

Document policies are your friends

Rules and metadata allow the automatic categorization and expiration of content. Implementing them translates to less time spent grooming old content. As Gartner says, “In particular, the policy can be used to separate "content of record" from intermediate content. It can also be used to clean up repositories and file servers.”

Check out a Content Service Provider and consider open source

ECM vendors can provide services to augment or replace certain enterprise needs, and are designed to save money while doing so. Gartner says, “IT managers must take a closer look at vendors that compete with content services beyond traditional software, such as Xerox, EDS, HP, Iron Mountain, Astoria, and Clickability among others.”

As for open source, the method is certainly maturing, but whether or not it’ll ever be fully embraced by the enterprise is the question.

Leverage your web channel

Gartner urges organizations to stop “wasting money on manual data and content transformation between customer-facing channels” and replace them with a structured and unstructured master data system.

Go Green!

Green is the new black, and there are a ton of paperless initiatives to prove it. Options include moving to electronic forms and storing records electronically, and eliminating redundancies that end up taking valuable resources. Can you think of a good reason not to go green? We didn’t think so.

E-mail Shme-mail

That’s right, forget e-mail because e-mail overload is not cute. It’s the uncutest ever. Gartner believes in cutting on-premise exchange servers in favor of options like Google? Or maybe Outlook? And reports that savings with this change alone are huge.

So, what do you think? Agree or disagree? If you agree and would like to hear more ideas, Bell will be further examining these practices at this year’s Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit in London. Check it out. If you disagree, by all means, tell us why.