The IT industry is on the front line of the climate change battle. The European Commission has estimated that digital technologies account for between 5% and 9% of global electricity consumption. This is likely to increase with digitization and emerging technologies. They also tell us that in the EU alone, data centers accounted for 2.7% of electricity demand in 2018 and will reach 3.21% in 2030 if development continues.
Every IT company and professional has a duty to do three things:
- Reduce the carbon emissions of IT operations and continuously drive them down.
- Use IT intelligently to improve operational efficiency across entire businesses.
- Use cloud creatively to transform the potential for “Green Innovation”.
IT functions and disciplines, together with the entire IT services industry, carries a heavy responsibility for making the fightback against climate change effective. So, what practical actions can we take?
Profit from Green IT
Making IT green is hard, but it’s a true win-win and a real profit driver.
It’s tough because the demands for processing and storage are rising exponentially, though many new use cases requiring enhanced IT capacity (scenario testing, modelling, digital twins…) are designed to save energy and wastage further down the line.
Smart IT departments are right now evaluating everything they own and do, from hardware (including smart devices), data storage (how to eliminate duplication and reduce power usage), to applications (no longer supporting low use or redundant apps, prioritizing efficiency in loading and processing…) so they can progressively cut down on power use.
By continuous optimization, the IT function reduces the IT function’s carbon footprint, cutting energy requirements, combatting waste, while avoiding duplication and unnecessary redundancy. To achieve these goals, they need to measure with precision, work closely with users and be proactive in replacing inefficient options. They also need to recognize this is just a first step, because IT’s main value to a sustainable enterprise is as an enabler of better working practices and outcomes, delivering:
Sustainable business through IT
IT has a key role in making every business become much more sustainable. And only truly sustainable enterprises have a future: no-one invests in a business with no plan for long term success.
The IT function and IT technology can deliver significant added value to the whole business by using IT as a tool for making the organization more responsive, faster-moving and flexible. This is not just about a single enterprise but covers complete value chains, too. IT professionals should be closely engaged in developing new use cases and propositions, designed to have a lower carbon footprint than those they replace, while using IT in a smarter way.
Their goal is to drive better resource management, together with dramatic cuts in emissions and waste, right across extended value chains, while meeting higher standards for compliance in CSR and ESG. The sustainability targets set by the UN (now seen as mandatory in governance terms) includes the duty for enterprises to track the environmental performance of suppliers and partners, even where no direct control is exercised.
Green IT is about the total performance of the business and requires continuous performance improvement against all environmental indicators. The IT function will become an adviser, consultant and guide to better planning, strategy development and working practices across the entire value chain. This will take them to the limit of what can be achieved by in-house IT and prepare for:
Making cloud more green
Once the move to cloud begins, the enterprise can use its new, more advanced cloud-based IT capabilities to change how the organization is structured, how it thinks, acts and operates. It should now become easier to create new business models, based on digital native outlooks and behaviors, in which sustainability is a way of life, and critically important for long-term growth.
IT in the Cloud is a driver for positive innovation, in which services, offers and value propositions, together with how these are delivered, are continuously scrutinized and improved. The goal is to identify ways in which offers can be produced and taken to market while both progressively reducing carbon impact and enhancing customer experience.
Moving to Cloud opens the potential for faster, more positive change than is possible outside Cloud. Translating the potential into more sustainable business models AND greener organizations is where the challenge lies. So what to do next? We are clear about the priorities:
Accelerate your move to Cloud. Cloud does not automatically make your business greener but you cannot transform environmental performance without cloud’s ability to scale, speed development, cut down use of resources and avoid duplication.
Know your start point. Every organization is different and you need to create your own unique roadmap, so knowing where you are right now is essential.
Measure accurately. You need tools that track progress all through the journey. We will provide a role-based dashboard that shows where you stand day by day, hour by hour, allowing fast, secure intervention when needed.
Find the right partners. Enterprises need to access new skills and capabilities, which probably won’t be found inside the business. The right partners could make the difference between success and failure.
Profit from Green IT. Going Green is a basic necessity due to public demand, investor expectations and the need to rethink operations for a different future. Greening your IT by investing in Green Cloud is the best decision and likely the best investment you can make.
Once you make IT less resource hungry, less dependent on long-term vendor relationships, you will make your organization more agile, scalable, flexible, free from high fixed costs, better able to innovate at speed and deliver at scale anywhere and anytime. Green Cloud is the key to long-term competitive advantage, as well as long-term sustainability.
Learn more about Green IT at NTT DATA’s whitepaper ‘Cloud for sustainability’.