(PRWEB UK) 31 October 2012
On October 2nd The CIO Partnership in collaboration with Olswang LLP Law firm hosted a roundtable discussion involving 16 business leaders to answer the question “Whatever happened to Green IT?” It was chaired by Lord St John of Bletso, who sits as a cross-bencher in the House of Lords and has an interest in Information Technology and Environmental Protection. He is a member of the House of Lords Communications Select Committee and the Information Committee.
Gary Hird, IT Strategist at the John Lewis Partnership and author of ‘Green IT in Practice’, supported by Trewin Restorick, CEO, Global Action Plan, set the scene for our discussion by explaining the Green IT approach chosen by their organisations.
Does IT lead or follow the green agenda?
Specifically on the topic “Does IT lead or follow the green agenda?”; the questions were raised about what has IT done and what is IT doing to lead the green agenda? A discussion ensued.
Many businesses have undertaken data centre consolidation with the introduction of server virtualisation, managed print services and the procurement of greener IT equipment. Data centres are still major consumers of energy, yet the IT department is often excluded from involvement in many businesses’ energy and environmental policy making. Some 60% of data centre energy is used for powering or cooling the equipment in the datacentre. Is this really necessary?
IT has enabled employees to travel less, through home working and the use of Webinars and on-line meetings. IT has helped some companies reduce waste through improved forecasting and optimisation of supply chain transport and deliveries. A few organizations have introduced energy monitoring of different floors or departments in their buildings and encourage staff to be more economical with energy consumption. It was suggested that across Europe the vehicle tracking systems and other transport management changes could save €13.2 billion in energy bills.
In times gone by, businesses led the way with investment in technology and employees followed. We are currently undergoing a sea-change whereby technology is consumer-led, with many employees owning more advanced technology in the form of smart phones and other mobile devices. Employees are also communicating differently with extensive use of social media and instant messaging. We are spawning a new generation of workforce for whom it is perfectly natural to make “friends” with people they have never met and communicate quite comfortable using a variety of new and changing social media.
Even older generation managers are using technology such as Webinars and on-line meetings to avoid the need for travel.
The point was made that many IT projects with positive “green” credentials were not IT-driven projects, but the by-product of other pressures such as modernising IT infrastructure to reduce maintenance costs, or encouraging staff to work from home and not travel to work during the Olympics.
One company found that encouraging staff to work from home during the Olympics was so beneficial to their effectiveness it now has a formal policy to encourage more home-working.
The point was raised that it has been the consumer that has led the way with the take-up of things like fair-trade products and buying local produce. It is likely that green IT will be more consumer led than government or industry led. There is clearly a need for better education of senior management and employees on the broader issues of IT and environmental impact.
The discussions also covered the following stimulating topics and how they impacted green IT:
You can request a copy of the full 2-page discussion summary here.
This event was part of The CIO Partnership executive thought-leadership education programme, which has previously included breakfast briefings, Webinars and newsletters on the security threats and issues faced by today’s businesses in the digital world.
The event was also the tenth in Olswang’s series of +TECHNOLOGY events. +TECHNOLOGY addresses the need to understand and harness the impact of technology across a broad range of industries.
About the CIO Partnership:
The CIO Partnership is an independent professional services organisation comprising very high calibre executive level practitioners who can transform clients’ people, systems, and business to enhance stakeholder confidence and achieve business success.
Its seasoned partners are available ‘on tap’ to work with clients to deliver results quickly and at an affordable price.
Its CIO partners have deep experience in all aspects of business transformational change, are used to operating at board level, and are absolutely focused on delivering client value. They, therefore, aim to deliver rapid results.