EDITOR ’ S QUESTION
HOW CAN DATA CENTRE LEADERS ENSURE THEY MOVE BEYOND INTENTION TO PUT SUSTAINABILITY INTO ACTION ?
chneider Electric ,
S a leader in Digital Transformation of energy management and automation , commissioned two independent research studies focused on sustainability in IT and data centre operations and the results reveal a disconnect between intent and action , indicating most of the industry is still at the beginning stage of its sustainability journey .
The two studies were conducted by industry leading analysts at 451 Research and Forrester . They collected data from nearly 3,000 global participants , including the largest colocation and cloud providers and IT professionals across many segments and organisation sizes . The 451 Research paper revealed a perception-versus-reality dilemma with many enterprise organisations believing their sustainability programmes are more advanced than they are , as ‘ the maturity evaluations of nearly half of respondents ( 48 %) did not match a previous answer ’. The Forrester paper focused on colocation and found 73 % of organisations ranked sustainability as their number two business priority , but only 33 % say they have created a strategic sustainability plan .
“ The research clearly demonstrates that across the data centre and IT industry , there is a sustainability action gap – the intention appears to be there , but action is lacking ,” said Pankaj Sharma , EVP of the Secure Power Division , Schneider Electric . “ Of course , IT professionals understand and have taken steps to address sustainability . But what we lack , with some exception , is comprehensive and supported sustainability action plans and measurable targets to create the change required to address the climate crisis . These two research papers have documented a sustainability action gap and that is our collective challenge to address .
Understanding the status of industry-wide sustainability initiatives
Schneider Electric commissioned the two independent research studies , which were designed to help the industry better understand the maturity of sustainability initiatives . The 451 Research paper , Sustainability at the Edge – The Gap between Enterprise Plans and Sustainability Programs for Core and Distributed IT , researched more than 1,150 medium and large enterprises worldwide representing more than 20 verticals and their sustainability efforts with distributed IT resources .
Researchers determined many enterprises believe they are further along in their sustainability journey than they actually are . For this group , the main driver of sustainability is business value and firms start with measuring energy usage then expand into other sustainability metrics and tools . The greatest challenges in their sustainability journeys include optimising energy usage , followed by obtaining consistent data and metrics ( for leaders / advanced firms ) and lacking skilled staff ( for starter organisations ).
In Forrester ’ s leadership paper , Reimagine Colocation Strategy with Sustainability Front of Mind , researchers polled 1,033 global sustainability decision-makers at colocation providers worldwide with the objective of exploring sustainability drivers in the colocation provider industry . The study also explored the major challenges for colocation players and where they are investing the most across the technology stack .
The paper found organisations lack a strong comprehensive strategy for the sustainability programmes , with only 33 % saying their business has created a strategic sustainability plan . This indicates that the industry is still at the beginning of a sustainability journey . The paper determined that moving forward , a key piece of sustainability success will be finding the right partner to help organisations succeed . It also found that businesses that hired an outside sustainability consulting firm as part of their sustainability initiatives are 33 % more likely to be high maturity . www . intelligentdatacentres . com