Financial savings and patch management also benefit from 1E’s software
Insurer Aviva is looking at substantial environmental and financial benefits after installing PC power management software from 1E.
Aviva has around 53 million customers across the world and is the planet’s fifth largest insurer, and the largest in the UK. Joanne Goddard, group senior corporate responsibility manager at the firm told CBR that Aviva has always taken its corporate responsibility seriously.
"We believe that we need to play our part in protecting the environment in which we operate," she said. "All of our corporate responsibility commitments focus on doing the right thing for society and the business. Reducing our carbon emissions delivers cost savings, however we genuinely believe that our desire to reduce our carbon emissions stems from the principle of limiting our own environmental impact for the societal good."
The company has been steadily reducing its CO2 emissions over the last few years and recently turned its attentions to its IT department, which it estimated was contributing 40% of all emissions.
Aviva set up a sustainable IT taskforce to look at a variety of ways of reducing IT carbon emissions, from increasing the use of unified communications such as web conferencing to managing PCs when they are not in use. It was the latter initiative the resulted in the company looking at 1E’s NightWatchman Enterprise platform.
NightWatchman is 1E’s PC power management software, capable of remotely turning computers on to enable IT to carry out updates when people have left for the day or over a weekend. It is also said to help organisations reduce carbon emissions by turning off computers that have been left on when not in use.
Like many companies Aviva faced a dilemma between turning PCs off to save electricity and emissions and needing them on to apply patches, which generally has to be done after work hours to keep disruption to a minimum.
"We had two competing legitimate policies regarding switching off PCs," explained Goddard. "From an energy perspective, there was, and indeed still is, a requirement to switch off all equipment when not in use. However there was also an IT need to have computers on at least part of the night so that upgrades could be applied."
Aviva initially trialled NightWatchman on 856 PCs in its UK office. Data was collected over a period of one week and revealed a number of interesting stats. 60% of desktop PCs and 18% of laptops were being left on overnight. On weekends, 57% of desktops and 30% of monitors were being left on, but only 7% were actually being used.
"The number of laptops left on overnight was a particular surprise as we would have expected laptops by virtue of being portable to be removed from desks overnight and at weekends," Goddard explained.
Once the trial had been deemed successful Aviva proceeded with a rollout across 30,000 PCs in the UK. While the exact cost savings will vary with electricity tariffs, the company has been able to forecast other savings from using the software. This includes projected savings of 7,706,610 kWh of electricity per year across 30,000 PCs and equivalent emissions reduction of 4,138 metric tonnes of CO2.
As well as the financial and environmental benefits, the IT department has also benefited from being able to update PCs during out of office hours, Goddard said.
Goddard pointed out that the rollout of NightWatchman was controlled to keep disruption to a minimum. "The deployment of the software was carefully planned and managed by our Desktop Services Team, to ensure that critical machines are not switched off, power-down times reflect local usage – for example call centres have extended operating times including weekends – and that there are no log-on bottlenecks when people arrive for work the following morning," she said.
After its UK rollout Aviva will be deploying NightWatchman across the rest of Europe and in the Asia Pacific region in 2011.