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Why all the requests for paperless billing lately?

IDC survey shows companies are keen to move customers away from paper, partly as a way to go green and partly as a way to save money.

Feel like just about every utility, bank, and service company you use is asking you to sign up for their paperless option?

It's not your imagination. And you're about to be inundated with even more requests to opt-in to paperless communications, according to an IDC survey released Thursday.

Ninety-two percent of the 300 U.S. companies in IDC's "Green IT & Sustainability Survey 2009" said getting customers to move from print to online services is a goal they hope to initiate within 12 months.

The survey also shows an increased interest from companies in implementing green practices as a way to take advantage of their growing IT infrastructure. About 46 percent in the new survey said it was the second most important factor driving sustainability practices, compared with 31 percent in a 2008 survey.

The trend is attributed to the budget squeeze being placed on IT managers and their desire to show executives they're maximizing assets, as companies look to save money.

"Because they understand that much of their expanding infrastructure remains underutilized--adding to their company's capital and energy costs--green IT policies can help establish a more comprehensive approach to utilizing their assets," Vernon Turner, senior vice president of IDC's Enterprise Infrastructure, Consumer and Telecom Research, said in a statement.

Saving energy, of course, remains the No. 1 reason companies are adopting sustainability practices with 64 percent of the respondents surveyed citing it as the most important factor in their decisions.

IDC surveyed 1,653 companies in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S. That included the 300 surveyed in the U.S. The survey represented a cross-section of industries that included banking, manufacturing, health care, government, and transportation.