Plan IT for Planet AND Profit

In an environment where the costs of running IT resources are escalating, an efficient and lean business will have an enhanced competitive advantage. With increased pressure from government bodies to reduce or eliminate the impact of their operations on the environment, green IT has quickly moved up the strategic priorities of many organisations.

Organisations have recognised that "being green" is not just about being friendly to the environment. Sustainability initiatives are aimed at long term profitable growth, not just the preservation of natural resources, and corporate responsibility is now a competitive issue.

According to The Dow Jones Index for sustainability report 2014, 71 percent of the 4,100 companies researched, representing the top 100 companies from 41 countries (N100) across 15 sectors, now issue corporate responsibility or sustainability reports. These reports are essential to convince investors that a business has a future beyond the next quarter or year.

Top companies now understand this and are building corporate responsibility and sustainability right at the heart of their business strategy to create long-term value and resilience to environmental and social change. Not only this but they are beginning to identify new commercial opportunities during the process, so it really is in their best interests to promote a culture of Green IT.

IT will account for 12 percent of global energy usage by 2017

According to a recent Green Peace report, by 2017, 12 percent of all energy consumed world-wide will be due to laptops, smartphones, tablets, networks and data centres. Due to the sheer impact of IT infrastructure on global electricity usage and the growing difficulty of right-sizing business’ IT estates, it is imperative for large businesses to ensure they are not over-spending on their own.

We all know that servers consume significant power; not just to operate but also to maintain the necessary environmental conditions that they need. They represent the largest and most important electricity consumer in the data centre – drawing power for data storage, communications, infrastructure equipment and power-distribution systems.

Why IT Capacity Planning is key

While ensuring they have enough capacity headroom for future growth, organisations need to streamline their IT infrastructure in order to stay competitive in an economy with a green agenda. IT capacity planning is by definition a strategic activity and its output will help form and support corporate reporting initiatives.

Efficient management of an IT estate will identify and remove waste. In doing so it draws the line between on-the-floor activity, corporate strategy and ultimately company performance, not to mention providing an efficient, sustainable business. This works for on premise, however in today’s IT landscape of the cloud and ‘as a service’ providers, organisations are faced with extending their corporate sustainability initiatives to include these vital parts of their businesses.

Aligning Service Providers with your sustainability objectives.

Until now, service providers have been keen to mark their own homework and reluctant to install third-party monitoring on the premise that it would impact the services they are accountable for. A valid concern as contemplated and explained by Schrodinger’s famous cat theory – "the observation of measurement itself affects outcome." As we have seen with government initiatives such as Service Integration and Management (SIAM) however, there is a growing demand for organisations to provide evidence that their service providers can demonstrate good practice and efficient use of services.

Modern capacity planning tools can help plug this gap. By pulling data from across service provider and in-house provisioning into a standard data model and powerful visual representation, areas of over provisioning that are crying out for consolidation can be quickly identified.

With this consistent, single source of knowledge, IT managers have the ability to compare and contrast service performance, and in partnership with service providers, collect evidence of their capability and support for corporate sustainability policies.

When operating as partners, IT service providers should, in any event, be aligned with organisations’ sustainability strategies and operate to the levels they demand. Using modern capacity planning tools, they can easily demonstrate their capability to meet organisations’ strategic objectives going forward.

Since not all businesses exercise environmental caution, one might assume they are under the impression that incorporating environmental responsibility into their business strategy will negatively impact their profits. If there’s something we can learn from many market-leading organisations today, it’s that having an active commitment to environmental goals can significantly improve operational performance. Now is the time for organisations to plan their IT infrastructure for both planet and profit.

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