Business leaders across the planet have spent years optimizing and accelerating their organization’s digital transformation journey. Now, they are faced with a new challenge – synchronizing their digital initiatives with their sustainability efforts. As industries look towards a net-zero carbon future, identifying a clear sustainability transformation plan to meet long-term commitments and drive business growth is crucial. But why is a sustainability transformation plan, critical?
The advantage of safeguarding the natural ecosystem is well documented but if an organization grows its sustainability efforts it can increase revenue, productivity, and profits. An example: Meta who, in their 2021 Sustainability Report, has put a target of being net-zero across their value chain by 2030. In addition, the metaverse is an area Meta is investing in heavily. And the cloud will play a vital part in that. So, what role will a sustainability transformation plan take part in the cloud?
Businesses have usually prioritized profits, progression, and people – but cloud sustainability is pushing for a seat at the metaphorical table in large organizations. We already know the benefits of the cloud are substantial workload flexibility, and increasingly efficient energy frameworks that make the public cloud more logical than on-premises data centers. According to Accenture, “Migrations to the public cloud can reduce CO2 emissions by 59 million tons per year which equates to taking 22 million cars off the road.” Drifting to a greener more efficient cloud makes commercial sense. While there is no silver bullet to help with migration to the cloud, selecting with purpose, building with ambition, and innovating further will help provide benefits. If a company is at the start of its cloud sustainability transformation journey, more questions will be raised than answers. The choices the senior leadership team make will directly impact how sustainable an organization is, and the profits (financial or otherwise) gained. “Those that choose wisely will gain unprecedented levels of innovation leading to both a greener planet and a greener balance sheet.”
At the end of June 2022, a Meet the Boss roundtable in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) was held on the topic of sustainability transformation in the cloud. A very lively discussion with executives representing different sectors including engineering, healthcare, and construction were in attendance. A multitude of takeaways was shared but the key one was “failing fast.” An example the thought leader shared was “Amazon Auctions.” The purpose of Auctions was to start chipping away at the majority market share eBay was holding. After twelve months of the product being launched, Amazon scrapped the idea and it failed. However, the learnings and teaching from that venture turned into what we now call “Amazon Marketplace,” which is thriving. As claimed by Marketplace Pulse, Amazon Marketplace is 25% of all American eCommerce. The same lessons can be applied when journeying into the world of sustainability in the cloud.
Lastly, a recent report from Deloitte states that there are five things you need to know about green cloud computing. Those five things are:
- Cloud is a greener option.
- A smarter use of energy.
- Major technology giants have ambitious plans which is a good thing.
- A hyperscale data center needs an exponential amount of uninterrupted energy to process and cool. This limits what cloud can do in terms of sustainability.
- Moving your IT architecture to the cloud should be a lift and shift exercise.
The five points Deloitte shares mean that cloud computing is a more polished and substantial advancement on any on-prem centers a business may already have. Reduced hardware equals reduced workloads which then means a smaller amount of energy being absorbed into the atmosphere. An issue that may arise is that those cloud data centers will need electricity to power and cool them. Replacing fossil fuels with cleaner, greener, and renewable energy is the future of saving our planet.
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