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Even we’re feeling the heat today

November 27, 2009

Normally there is a lovely ocean breeze blowing in Manly- home of expanz – but today its hot and the wind is out of the north west.  So we’ve got the fan on.  Every time it gets hot the global warming debate heats up, and then the IT world talks of ‘green IT’. 

My take on green IT is pretty much my take on the current world of IT as a whole – we’re doing it wrong!  OK, not wrong, but far less than optimal – we’re not being smart about it.  We’re taking the safe shortcuts, not investing in anything but the very short term and certainly not thinking outside the square.

Thats why the ESA is here.  Its different and its long term.  And its very very green (IMO of course).  How?  In many ways… Its an assembly line, so it reduces development effort – less A/C, lighting and PC power for the dev team.  The AppServer, being stateful, is far more efficient than a typical stateless model (for business apps) and so the server room uses less power.

But most importantly, and what most people miss – fail to see – its that it can be used to build systems that are a 100% fit to a business and so optimise thats business’s work flows.  This of course is not solely the domain of the ESA – this is an area of ‘green IT’ that is inevitably overlooked.  The fact that a business’s IT systems can greatly alter their overall efficiency is clear and simple, but a significant portion of that is related to sustainability.

I love our ERP system and the clients we have – lets do a short case study on one of them purely from a ‘green IT’ point of view.  A distributor of organic food & drinks adopted our system and here are a few improvements we have made: first, the sales reps are now online with mobile devices, rather than having to return to the warehouse, cradle & sync the orders.  They leave their last customer for the day and drive home, not to the warehouse then home.   Next of course is realtime visibility and accuracy of the orders, so the warehouse becomes more efficient in its stock planning and movements.  Our forecasting module is so highly tailored for them that their wastage is greatly reduced (they do a lot of perishables that are seasonal) but they almost never short supply either.   We save a lot of paper as well – taking POD electronically – signature capture on the mobile devices, using screen PDF’s and other reports vs hard copy.  Delivery route optimisation is easy these days as well – here’s a list of addresses I need to visit, combined with a good realtime mapping and traffic system and you spend far less time stuck in traffic.

I believe that businesses adopting new IT systems should think more laterally in ways that a new system can improve and optimise their overall day to day activities, rather than taking an inflexible package and keeping the status quo.  Continual improvement.

Green IT should focus more on the real world savings a tailored system can provide rather than simply reducing server CPU cycles.

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