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4.5 min to readAsset ManagementSoftware Sourcing ServicesThought Leadership

How ITAM and procurement can drive sustainability for your IT operations

Melanie Nash
Melanie NashSenior Procurement Specialist
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The environmental impact of digital technology use has risen up the agenda for organisations worldwide. Digital technologies account for 3.7 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, with accelerating digital transformation accounting for a large part of this figure.

Understanding how much energy is consumed by servers, data centres and devices – and how activities such as cloud computing and video streaming increase consumption – is key to understanding an organisation’s total environmental footprint.

Tracking overall environmental impact can be complex for businesses – but it is increasingly necessary as sustainability becomes a growing business imperative. Carbon reduction is being driven by the push for businesses to deliver environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting.

Although energy consumption is important for IT sustainability, extending the useful life of installed IT equipment and minimising electronic waste also play key roles. Businesses often don’t fully understand how much energy their IT function is responsible for. IT asset management (ITAM) helps to unravel the complexity of IT operations and can assess how vendors contribute to an organisation’s environmental footprint. ITAM assessments help businesses to begin their sustainability journey by enabling them to make better-informed IT decisions so they can minimise environmental risk – and track how sustainability initiatives are actively reducing carbon use on an ongoing basis.

  • 1. Develop a well-defined policy

    that lays out your commitment to sustainability, with clear goals to reduce carbon impacts over time. Include factors such as IT equipment energy efficiency and outline how devices and other IT equipment are disposed of after they have reached end of life.

  • 2. Work out how much energy your IT assets use 

    and/or how much energy you consume in the cloud. To calculate an emissions baseline, measure your Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) emissions and how you are using your IT resources. This helps to track your progress towards long-term, sustainable change. It also helps in documenting how you will make improvements for regulatory and reporting needs.

  • 3. Implement tools and practices

    to optimise the use of IT assets and the cloud. This includes monitoring and managing hardware, software, and network and cloud resources to limit energy use and build in efficiencies.

  • 4. Look at ways to make your IT infrastructure more energy efficient

    by – for example – improving the sustainability of existing data centre operations or moving to the cloud. Also, try to prolong the lifetimes of hardware resources such as smartphones and computers.

  • 5. Integrate sustainability criteria into the procurement process

    Consider factors such as energy efficiency and long-term sustainable solutions, as well as an annual review to track measures that have been agreed on with IT vendors.

  • 6. Collaborate with internal stakeholders

    to help develop innovative solutions and create new and improved sustainability initiatives. It’s essential to speak to the deciders and the doers. The deciders are the ones who green-light projects. Doers can help you to institute sustainable practices. Get buy-in from across the organisation, from top down and from bottom up, to engender support on sustainability initiatives.

  • 7. Establish KPIs to measure the progress of sustainability initiatives

    You are more likely to reach your desired sustainability goals effectively when you have the endpoint in mind.

Although you can derive great value from having sustainability clauses in any contract with IT vendors, be sure to review these on an annual basis to ensure the vendor is fulfilling agreed-to contractual obligations. A new European Union law could soon make this kind of activity normal practice. The incoming EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which takes effect from January 2024, will require both large and SMB businesses that operate within EU territories to publicly disclose sustainability practices and performance – and show they are actively working to reduce their environmental footprint.

Moving towards more sustainable technology is not just about minimising the use of technology. It is also about ensuring that IT vendors play their part by reducing environmental impacts in the manufacture and supply of their products and services. With the combined forces of ITAM and procurement, businesses are better able to examine all angles and create the most effective foundation for sustainable IT operations.

SoftwareOne has years of experience in supporting sustainable practices in IT. Our ITAM division helps establish a baseline and works to continually reduce carbon emissions. Our contract negotiation expertise helps to ensure that IT vendors actively support our clients’ carbon reduction targets. For example, this could mean ensuring that a client pays only for the number of licences it uses and that it can scale licence usage up and down in line with business need.

We work with multiple organisations to support their digital sustainability aims and ensure that IT operations can easily build in positive environmental practices. Our approach is to understand the needs of the procurement department – and any other important stakeholders – to build a clear picture of each client’s actual technology needs, helping to optimise IT use and minimise energy consumption on an ongoing basis.

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SoftwareOne named a Leader in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Software Asset Management Managed Services

We believe our position as a Leader is testament to the high level of service we provide to our customers globally, through our people and leading technology.

SoftwareOne named a Leader in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Software Asset Management Managed Services

We believe our position as a Leader is testament to the high level of service we provide to our customers globally, through our people and leading technology.

Author

Melanie Nash

Melanie Nash
Senior Procurement Specialist