I attended a breakfast forum this morning sponsored be Vista Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm here in Boulder, CO. The speaker was Ike Nassi, EVP for SAP Research. During his talk, Ike discussed "Green IT". He kicked off a whole series of thoughts in my head about how we can use BI to reduce our carbon footprints. So here goes:
We have seen any number of articles, ads, vendor write ups, etc., touting how we can make IT more green. Well, according to a number of reports, IT creates only about 2% of the overall carbon footprint of enterprises. So even if we made massive changes to IT and reduced the carbon footprint by 50% (nearly impossible), it would reduce the overall footprint by a measly 1%...
How about doing something radically different -- how about using all our vast BI resources to analyze our processes and procedures to determine where we can truly make a difference? Gee, how about if we used our analytics to:
1. Analyze transportation routes -- couldn't we reduce our CO2 emissions more by analyzing our transportation routes, determining which routes would be the shortest, which ones could be consolidated, which ones could be eliminated? Seems like that would go a long way toward reducing the giant CO2 paw prints our enterprises make.
2. Analyze supply chain logistics -- how about analyzing suppliers for proximity to inventory depots, efficiency in shipping, consolidation of supplier routes, etc.? Maybe we can really get a handle on our supply chain management and eliminate unnecessary shipments (e.g., "emergency" and inefficient shipments because we did not manage the inventory correctly). Seems like this is an area that is rife with potential green savings.
3. Analyze employee travel -- I believe we could greatly reduce the carbon footprint of many enterprises by eliminating a lot of unnecessary travel. We should be able to determine the effectiveness of virtual technologies over the more expensive and environmentally unfriendly physical events. Do employees have to fly to meetings are could they attend via video conferencing? Perhaps conference providers should offer virtual attendance in addition to physical attendance. Not only will these actions reduce an enormous amount of CO2 from all the transportation devices involved (cars, airplanes, etc.), it cuts down on lost resource time due to travel, minimizes the waste that occurs (missed airplanes, lost baggage, etc.), and ultimately, saves money for the enterprise.
OK -- rant over. Now it is your turn. Please enter your suggestions for how a company can use its BI prowess to really make a dent in its carbon footprint. Not only will the environment benefit but, in these troubling financial times, these efforts can reduce costs, improve overall corporate efficiencies, and ultimately contribute beneficially to the corporation's bottom line. What do ya know, a win-win...
Yours in BI (and CO2 reduction) success.
Posted October 31, 2008 12:47 PM
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