Energy efficiency should be a top goal for CIOs who want to influence the innovation agenda. As more companies adopt a digital-first, innovation attitude, CIOs’ opinions are increasingly influential in the C-suite. And, as the CIO, you’re well-positioned to lead the dialogue on energy efficiency, whether you make IT choices in a legacy firm or a smart, IoT (internet of things) connected workplace.
Green is on the minds of CIOs. CIOs and other tech leaders will play an increasingly important role as more organizations focus on environmental sustainability, according to Ned Calder, a partner at Innosight, a strategic consulting firm based in Lexington, Massachusetts. Many businesses emphasize the letter ‘e’ in their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives. Technology must be a vital engine for success, and the IT department must be a key collaborator.
Who Is a CIO?
A chief information officer, or CIO, manages the company’s IT needs. The role includes project management and leading teams of developers and other technical professionals to maintain computer systems. They also oversee software development and implementation and data security policies. A CIO can be an excellent asset for companies looking to increase energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint.
Why Should your Chief Information Officer (CIO) be your Sustainability Champion?
The Chief Information Officer (CIO) may be an obvious choice to oversee the company’s sustainability efforts. CIOs are well-positioned to work with CSOs to ensure their success in firms that already have them. The CIO’s role has expanded to encompass innovative strategies that deliver cost savings and energy efficiencies across the company as green IT has expanded from buying more energy-efficient servers and data centers to finding ways to optimize lighting, monitor greenhouse emissions, and even implement new technologies to improve business processes.
The CIO is in a great position to help the company with its sustainability objectives. The CIO already works with every department in a company and knows how to improve the business procedures that keep the company running smoothly. IT is entrusted with reducing waste and inefficiency in these day-to-day activities, which can then be applied to reducing waste and inefficiency in energy and resource use. IT is frequently prepared to address enterprise-wide change projects, such as creating a sustainability program, because it has led transformative initiatives like ERP and CRM implementations.
Telecommuting is made possible by technology, such as online portals, video conferencing, and remote, mobile access, which lowers the need for business travel and thereby minimizes the company’s carbon footprint. Furthermore, application portfolio rationalization minimizes the requirement for servers and other hardware, lowering the company’s carbon footprint even further. This broad definition of green IT encompasses much more than data Centre operations. It can bring optimum environmental and cost-cutting benefits by utilizing IT capabilities to improve company processes and decrease waste. Companies may appeal to the demands of all their stakeholders by using the skills and experience of this inherently tech-savvy department, boosting their social impact while minimizing their environmental imprint and driving down cost and inefficiencies.
The CIO may frequently assist companies in broadening their sustainability efforts to include environmental, economic, and social consequences while also utilizing cross-functional partnerships to assure the success of these programs. So, the next time your company considers who will lead the sustainability drive, look no further than the CIO’s office.
Why Should Businesses be Concerned about their Environmental Impact?
Businesses and software providers appear to be suddenly talking about climate action, including circular economy technologies, carbon emissions measurement, and data center decarbonization. Several elements are converging. It depends on the industry where the emphasis is placed, but I believe there are four majors [environmental sustainability drivers]:
Customer expectations are high: This is the growing expectation among consumers that the businesses they buy from are environmentally conscious.
Employee expectations are important: Employees want to work for an employer who shares their values, especially as worries about sustainability become more widespread in our culture. People want to see their businesses take action on problems that matter to them.
Expectations from investors: One of the most essential [business sustainability drivers] is that the investing community is beginning to consider what companies are doing in terms of climate change. Investors increasingly [see] a company’s long-term viability as a danger if it is on the wrong side of this broader trend toward sustainability. Companies that want to attract investors must have a [sustainable] story and action plan.
Regulatory action of the government: More active government regulatory action on sustainability, whether it’s to improve the health of their populations or make the proper contributions to prevent climate change more broadly.
How can a CIO Lead Energy Conversation?
- From a cost center to a revenue source: CIOs are frequently referred to as “chief innovation officers,” serving as ambassadors for digital transformation activities to lower costs while also increasing revenue. Even though IT funds are increasing, they are still spent on day-to-day operations rather than truly transformative efforts. Nearly two-thirds of Canadian CIOs stated their IT budgets are expanding, yet 64% of those budgets are dedicated to keeping the lights on. You probably have a list of breakthroughs you’d like to promote, whether in data analytics, artificial intelligence, cyber security, or another field. However, they all require investment, so looking for ways to save money on energy in other areas of IT makes financial sense. You might potentially reallocate funds towards more innovative, game-changing projects that will grow your firm if your day-to-day operation runs more efficiently.
- Prepare to work together: Energy efficiency options abound in IT, ranging in scope and cost from computer and server upgrades to more capital-intensive initiatives like relocating data to a more energy-efficient data center.
Delivering on energy efficiency, regardless of budget, necessitates good collaboration. That means getting all of the right people in the same room simultaneously to assess the total cost of ownership of IT projects, including any energy-saving initiatives. The good news is that your coworkers are almost certainly up for it. According to a recent Robert Half poll, 74% of CFOs collaborate more with their CIOs than they were a few years ago. And while CIOs are gaining clout, other departments are driving technology spending – which is unsurprising given how significant digital investment is to every aspect of a company today. One method for CIOs to maintain control over smart, strategic technology investment while keeping the organization’s long-term strategy in mind is to focus on energy efficiency.
- Influence the culture around you: CIOs are under pressure to develop technologies that keep younger workers happy while keeping costs low and leading the digital transformation agenda. You can do both by incorporating energy efficiency into your decision-making process.
Flexible work rules (so fewer on-site employees use energy) and updating to newer, more energy-efficient computers, for example, can help you save money on energy while simultaneously improving employee happiness and organizational culture. Sustainability is increasingly becoming a more significant concern for many CEOs, board members, and employees, and energy-efficient technology can help. Leading energy efficiency projects as the CIO will highlight your worth in developing a greener, more purposeful brand. Finally, developing an energy-efficiency strategy will help your company appear forward-thinking, which can help form collaborations with entrepreneurs and start-ups outside of your company, as many companies are doing today to speed up their innovation efforts.
To Wrap it all up
You’re not just an order taker if you can have a productive interaction with the company. You can contribute a unique perspective that can help shape and impact decisions. Connecting that vision to the realities of the business is a critical success component. You can have a lot more conviction about where and how you need to invest and how quickly you need to move when there is a clear vision that provides clarity about the priorities as well as a strong partnership with the business on what we’re trying to do when there is a clear vision that provides clarity about the priorities as well as a strong partnership with the business on what we’re trying to do. And you’ve got the proper internal partners to help you out. [Climate change IT-business alignment] can make working through a complex collection of issues and the transformation program easier.