At Macanta we have been espousing the need for improved business and service management processes if organisations are to be serious about improving the sustainability of ICT. The recent Global Benchmark 2011 report from Fujitsu, that summarises the findings of a survey of 1000 CIOs and senior ICT managers from around the globe, supports what we have been saying.
Whereas many organisations have addressed the growing energy consumption of IT with technology itself, few have focused on building sustainability into processes and making it business-as-usual. ICT is responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and this is forecast to grow to 6% by 2020. As the report points out, more importantly, ICT is responsible for 5 to 10% of the typical economy’s total electricity consumption and in some organisations that rely heavily on ICT such as banks, government and in many other administrative industries, ICT can account for up to 75v% of all energy consumption.
Despite these figures, ICT Sustainability or Green IT is not a high priority for most ICT departments. It is seen as a ‘nice-to-have’ rather than a ‘must-have’. Many organisations have reached a plateau in regards to ICT sustainability. They have tackled initiatives such as PC power management or telecommuting – the so called ‘low-hanging fruit’.
As the report states, ‘the problem is the low-hanging fruit have grown back’.
‘ICT sustainability should be a program, not a project. It does not end when one box is ticked; it is a continuing and focused commitment that must be integrated into core business processes’.
It is time for organisations to realise that they are not going to get the return on investment from many of their technology driven initiatives for sustainability unless the underpinning processes are in place. For example, data centre consolidation and virtualisation is all well and good and will deliver initial cost savings and improved energy consumption. However, without effective and efficient change management, service asset and configuration management, release and deployment management and supplier management processes – to name a few – the likelihood is that your sparkling emerald green data centre will soon become murky brown. (See my earlier blog). It is just like spring cleaning the house and then you let the kids back in. “What happened!” you exclaim as all the hard work appears to have been for nothing.
Service management processes can be used to drive sustainability within ICT and make it part of the fabric of the organisation. Sustainability can be embedded into every service management process, activity and function. At Macanta we have used the ITIL framework and created the eco-ITSM service to help organisations build sustainability into their everyday operation. Sustainability becomes a way-of-life and not a one-off activity.
It is time to build on the energy saving techniques and technology that have typically been used to date such as virtualisation, cloud computing, duplex printing, PC power management, collaboration tools and ensure that sustainability becomes an ongoing commitment. In service management we talk about continual service improvement all the time so we should apply this to sustainability. Continual Sustainability Improvement should be the new CSI!
The Fujitsu report can be downloaded here.