Five Ways to Green Your IT Solutions

Greening your company’s IT solutions doesn’t just help the planet. It also can yield significant financial savings. Many of today’s green IT solutions can improve workflow, streamline application deployment and save your IT staff precious time. Following are five ways you can cut costs while reducing your organization’s environmental footprint. The Microsoft technology experts listed under each tip can help.

1. Audit your IT systemsand eliminate waste.
Underutilized servers, overutilized HVAC systems and equipment powered on but not in use all contribute to your carbon footprint and operating costs. An audit of your current IT systems can uncover flaws in your energy management strategy and suggest best practices to reduce waste.

  • InControl Technology, Inc. offers EnergyControl, an application that assesses the energy efficiency of every device on your TCP/IP network regardless of platform. Using this asset intelligence, InControl Technology can help you lower the energy consumption and costs of your data centers, IT devices and PCs.
  • 1E helps customers lower their IT costs and environmental footprint through simplified IT solutions that reduce power consumption. 1E's server energy management solution, NightWatchman Server Edition, provides detailed efficiency and power reporting to facilitate decisions about decommissioning wasteful servers.

2. Move to cloud computing.
A recent Microsoft study found that companies can reduce their carbon emissions by 30 percent or more by moving to an on-demand cloud computing model. Cloud computing also increases worker flexibility by allowing users to access key applications and services remotely.

  • Cloud Strategies LLC helps organizations create and implement a cloud computing blueprint based on Microsoft technologies, including Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite (BPOS) and Microsoft CRM Online.
  • Agile IT enables businesses to take advantage of Microsoft Online Cloud Services, including cloud-based email, productivity, collaboration, CRM, development and hosting solutions. Professional services offered include planning for, deploying, customizing and providing training in cloud computing solutions.

3. Virtualize your servers.
With Microsoft virtualization, multiple operating systems can run on a single server, potentially decreasing energy use by up to 90 percent. In addition to reducing hardware, server virtualization can enable faster, more complete disaster recovery.

  • Bell Techlogix, which delivers and supports the Microsoft Virtualization Suite, helps businesses build an effective server virtualization strategy. Professional services include initial technology assessments, planning, design and full technology deployment of virtualized environments.
  • Apex Digital Solutions, Inc. designs and implements virtualized environments for businesses of all sizes based on the Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V R2 platforms. Besides reaping the ecological and financial rewards of server virtualization, working with this partner can help you capitalize on the quick recovery capabilities of hardware consolidation.

4. Make desktops more efficient.
Saving power at the desktop level is one of the simplest ways to reduce your company’s carbon footprint. According to Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Dr. Dileep Bhandarkar, the average desktop PC wastes nearly half the power it draws from an electrical outlet, and a computer running 10 hours a day can account for one-tenth of a car's annual CO2 emissions.

  • WM Software Corporation offers ShutdownPlus Green, which sends each desktop into a low-power state based on its non-working times. This application also calculates the amount of electricity consumed and carbon dioxide emitted by a particular PC and gives power management tips to reduce energy use and CO2 emissions by at least 50 percent.
  • Adaptiva provides Adaptiva Companion, which extends Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 and System Management Server 2003 to help organizations lower the environmental impact and TCO of desktop computing—without compromising business productivity.

5. Automate key business processesand save paper.
According to The Paperless Project, almost 80 percent of today's information remains paper-based. Maybe you’ve convinced your people to cut back on printing emails and reports. But you can further reduce waste by digitizing key business processes.

  • Bremond-Gregoire Enterprises, Inc. offers Green Payable, an automated accounts payable system that integrates with Microsoft Dynamics GP to remit electronic payments. This application features multiple authorization levels, remote payment approval, extensive payment tracking, encryption of key data and vendor payment notification.
  • Visendo Fax@Mail 10, provided by ppedv AG, seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, allowing users to receive fax transmissions right in their inbox. Besides saving paper, this application shortens fax transmission time and offers secure message archiving.

For more applications, professional services and expert advice on greening your business solutions and IT systems, see the Related Links.