It is widely known and accepted that computers – and IT in general – contribute greatly to global warming. Through energy consumption, irresponsible disposal of non-biodegradable hardware, and use of hazardous materials, corporate information technology departments are clear sources of environmental degradation.
The call for organizations around the world to focus on greening their operations. When doing so positively affects the entire planet, your business must ensure a structured and targeted path to this greening to ensure a seamless, long-lasting transition that will result in reduced energy consumption, intelligent disposal, efficient data center design, and smart deployment of products made with the environment in mind. Becoming green is both “politically correct” and an environmental commitment, but companies must also ensure that the result yields a positive return on investment (ROI).
There are four main ways of greening an entire organization:
- Intelligent use of energy and information systems (“green use”)
- Reduction of waste, recycling and renovation of hardware and recycling of external devices and other recyclables (“green disposal”)
- Effective design of data centers and workstations (“green design”)
- Informed purchase of components, peripherals and equipment manufactured for environmental purposes (“green manufacturing”)
Against greening, ensure that implemented changes and processes do not sacrifice five key organizational commitment areas:
- User experience positivity
- workflow Efficiency
- Regulatory compliance and security
- Customer or client satisfaction
- Return on investment
To achieve sustainability goals by traveling on the aforementioned roads and without sacrificing the five areas of commitment, management should initiate the transition through a well-organized and inter-departmental strategy. Below are several steps to include in your plan:
1. Develop a comprehensive plan that consists of both immediate goals and long-term vision. To do this, you need to develop a three to five year roadmap including current needs or progress (such as telecommunications, energy efficiency and paper consumption reduction), competitive progress topics and even a “wish list” with desirable but not immediately justifiable options. Don’t just focus on things that provide instant gratification. Remember to include strategies for results that may require three to five years or more to achieve for future benefit. Give room for technological development, flexibility and scalability.
2. Don’t forget to include all your assets in your plan. For example, when Thinking about IT changes, consider the end user. How will the plan affect the human element of your business? While financial viability and sustainability are the desired outcome, the results will suffer without user satisfaction. Employee acquisition is a clear requirement. Will the changes also affect human resource needs within the arena of jobs, working hours and departmental structure?
3. Commitment to gradual implementation. Make changes that will be adopted in phases to ensure seamless transition and minimal impact on clients, customers, overall operations and profitability.
4. Develop and use relationships. Networking – in the business social sense – with fellows in the sustainability movement, other organizations towards key and mutually beneficial relationships and potential partners in advantageous relationships. Teach the manufacturers of items your organization requires in the direction of developing a true green approach, and then use these relationships to partner with pilot programs or other strategies that can reduce your costs.
In the greening of your business, you will notice many of the same obstacles as seen in any business strategy changes or implementation processes. There are likely to be questions about budget, structure and human resources. To ward off negative impact on your organization, develop the attitude to engage employees in your company’s green computer future. Allow them to speak concerns and feedback as these changes will initially be unpleasant for many (which are also major changes within a business environment). Gather marketing professionals to help with both internal and external business communication in relation to what will prove to be beneficial changes and responsible progress within your business.
Regardless of the size of your business, you will be able to positively impact the planet in the future through simple changes in computing and structure in your IT environments. Whether you’re starting out small with cloud computing, reducing printing and paper consumption, adopting energy efficiency, or implementing telecommuting options, reducing your carbon footprint can start right away. Without a doubt, Green Computing is the future – and perhaps even a human race – to ensure the longevity of both our businesses and the environment in which we live.
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