In a novel attempt to help everyone save money, SPRANQ has created ‘eco font‘. Which is a font with holes in… so it uses less ink! In using less ink (up to about 20%) it can save you money – pretty cool – and a great example of some lateral thinking. Of course, if you didn’t print it out at all you could save more, but we do print stuff out – so why not save ink and use the Ecofont. (And in case you were wondering, at normal point sizes, it looks just fine on a laser printer.)
So the recession, it would seem, has not impacted the IT community’s will to develop and invest in Green IT solutions. Global research, out today from Symantec, has shown that while companies around the world are keeping a close eye on their wallets, IT executives are happier than ever before to spend on Green IT initiatives, with over sixty-eight percent of UK executives expecting to see an increase in green IT budgets over the next 12 months.
This optimistic outlook for future investment is being driven by the ability of new IT products to impact energy efficiency and therefore fit within companywide sustainability initiatives, leaving the realms of the IT department and delivering value back to the business as a whole. IT departments are even willing to pay a premium for energy efficient products. Symantec’s 2009 Green IT survey showed that fifty-seven percent of those questioned would pay at least 10 percent more for energy efficient products, while 40 percent are willing to pay at least 20 percent more.
Over the past 12 months, IT has emerged as a new driving force in implementing green initiatives – not only for energy savings benefits, but also as a result of widespread desire to implement environmentally responsible practices. The pendulum has swung both ways and IT is now taking a balanced approach that is more integral to an organisation’s ‘green’ strategy, proven by the fact that the vast majority of respondents are now responsible for the energy costs of their data center.
A report released this week shows that UK businesses are wasting £300 million each year by powering idle PCs. I have written before that switching off idle desktops is something we do – and it saves a lot of money. I guess I could have done the maths and figured out a rough number for the whole of the UK – but someone else has done it for me… the good news is that we are the best in Europe… the bad news is that it is only 27% who switch them off. I like comparisons and the one they give is that if we all did it, it would be the equivalent of taking 243,440 cars off the road. Now there’s a number that rings a bell.
So… why not send round an email about the benefits of switching off at night – or you could invest in some software to do it for you.
In the US there is an organization called the Business for Innovative and Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP). In essence its a group of big household-name companies with more are joining all the time who are now lobbying congress to pass a number of pieces of green legislation, including to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to 25% below those in 1990. It’s good to see corporate America pushing for the legislation – and it should be passed because the man at the top is interested in climate change and doing something about it. A grass roots movement pushing for change… but with billion dollar companies.
Of course, actually achieving it will be tougher than talking about it… and by then there may have been another change (or two) on the political front – in the mean time, it would be good to have those same organizations lobby the governments in the other countries they operate in to do the same – and work on making the changes happen. Time will tell…
Corporate Responsibility Officer magazine has just published a list of ‘Best Corporate Citizens‘ and Symantec made it onto the list at #23. The number is made up from various measures, including metrics for environment, climate change, human rights and philanthropy. We have been working hard to ‘green’ our internal systems as well as producing products which can be used to green those of our customers and so it’s nice to have some recognition. I look forward to next year’s results as we try to push higher up the list.
Supermarket packaging is under the microscope again… but it’s not just supermarkets and food which can reduce their packaging. Software is a great example of where packaging and more importantly delivery has changed. In 2008, Symantec delivered more than 70% of its products electronically and for those who still want a box and paper manuals - it’s now made from 100% recycled materials.
The best news about electronic delivery, and think of music and video here as well… you already have a backup offsite!
Hurray, a standard has been agreed for mobile phone chargers… well, it’s a start anyway. So, now we have made a little progress here can we expand it to cover all the other things which need chargers? Cameras, MP3 players, video cameras, bluetooth headsets, the list seems to be endless – as do the chargers, which is just emphasised all the more when you go on holiday.
I’m sure, in the past it was beneficial for every manufacturer to have their own connector as some form of vendor lock-in, but surely not these days. Eco friendly is good, but it is also more efficient and less frustrating if there was a one size fits all – not just for the consumer, but also for the manufacturer.
Symantec has just released a new piece of research on the state of the datacentre. While much of the report is what you would expect – do more with less and go green, there are a few interesting indicators in there as well.
70% of companies outsource some tasks primarily in order to give IT staff more time to concentrate on other things and to reduce cost. With all the talk of Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud computing , this really points to it being a reality today and with increasing functionality becoming available, it will only increase.
Training was also seen as being strategic and 80% see their training budgets rising or staying the same over the next two years. This is good news for all – with training, IT staff can remain up-to-date with the rapidly changing technology and increasingly complex IT environments they are having to work in.
Finally, Disaster Recovery (DR) is also in there with only 42% of people thinking their plan was above average, furthermore there were more than 20% who said it needs work. Given how many natural disasters occur and that companies recognise that 25% of outages are from human error, I would have expected that DR would be in better shape. The introduction of new technology doesn’t help when it comes to keeping DR plans up to date, but it does need to be a part of the consideration when looking at new stuff. After all, if it gives business benefit today and you suffer an outage tomorrow, where does that leave your business?
So the economy is tough, budgets are being cut – what to do? Well, now is the time to revisit budgets and look at whether you can squeeze more out of the money you have. Cost Containment has become the buzz word of the moment and I am speaking at a couple of seminars we are sponsoring on ‘Rapid Cost Containment‘. When times are tough, it is the time to look at all you can do to prepare for the uptick – after all when it does come you won’t have the time to look at infrastructures and architectures you will be running to make sure IT keeps up with the need to support the business and bring in as much money as possible. There is nothing like a shoestring budget to focus the mind and help you think differently how you do stuff… so now is the time for innovation.
So, today is pre-budget day. For those of you outside the UK… we have a yearly budget in which the government sets things like tax and in recent years there has been the opportunity to make some minor course direction changes in the middle, with the pre-budget. Except, this time, with the global economy such as it is, the changes are more like U-turns. However, there was still a call for the environment with the chancellor saying that the economic recovery must “support our environmental objectives”, with the transition to a “low-carbon world continuing”.
So we still need to save power where we can. In the home this means switching off items which are not being used, and really switching them off, not just leaving them on stand-by, replace lightbulbs with energy saving ones etc. But how about the enterprise? Actually when it comes to IT, switching of desktops and printers at the end of the day can make a huge difference – within Symantec we use one of our own products and have a power policy for desktops which switches them off out of hours (so, if you forget when you go home, it will do it for you)… How much does that one policy change make? Estimated savings are $800,000 per year… and 6 million kilowatts of energy!