The cloud, a vast and ever-expanding digital ecosystem, plays a pivotal role in this shift. Organisations can make a sustainable impact both on and in the cloud, ensuring cloud and ESG strategies aligns, to drive growth, customer-loyalty and business performance.

Today every RFP coming to Datacom requires us to document our sustainability ethos. And where once, a high-level overview statement was acceptable, now the detail must be granular and measurable across the supply chain. Customers are comparing the narratives too. Rightly so.

Driving this shift is an unprecedented convergence of changing social and environmental customer sentiment and legislative compliance. One part carrot, one part stick.

The carrot

Australian businesses now need to comply with the NGER Act for mandatory reporting of Scope 1 and 2 emissions and are encouraged to report Scope 3 emissions. They must follow specified methodologies and standards to ensure accurate and consistent reporting. This is putting considerable pressure on people and processes to track and report on supply chain data that has not been captured before.

The stick

It signifies a step change in how people will do their jobs in the future. Some types of jobs won't exist because of Copilot-like services being widely deployed. But new, higher-value roles will be created, as we saw with the internet revolution.  

Get sustainable goodness baked in

Choosing a cloud partner that is aligned with your ESG imperatives can help alleviate these compliance pressures and help you position your organisation for a positive sustainable future. Getting onto the cloud with them ensures you’ll get the benefit of their sustainable infrastructure and their supply chain metrics.

If you think of the cloud like a pizza, the individual segments, such as the infrastructure centre, the services, the datacentres, the cloud alliances and importantly, the capability of the people make up the slices. The sustainable cloud pizza comes with every ingredient intentionally considered, designed-in and painstakingly measured.

For instance, Datacom’s data centres have energy contracts that allow us to offer rates that are significantly lower than the market. Our procurement processes are focused on sustainability, and in our Datacom-owned and operated data centres we work with suppliers who are 100% renewable generators and provide us with 100% certified renewable energy.

In addition, we always have sustainability projects on the go, including reducing energy use by cooling our facilities with outdoor air, initiating the deployment of solar on our rooftops, replacing our batteries with new Lithium technology, right down to switching out our lightbulbs.

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Datacom's GM Hybrid Cloud Solutions Michael Pratt says it is critical for organisations to think, plan and act sustainably on and in the cloud. There are significant gains to be made for those that do so; in reputation, ESG compliance, business value, IT asset utilisation, employee loyalty and customer brand preference.

Our engineers start with the most sustainable tools at their disposal. They don’t have to consider the massive carbon footprint within server banks, whether the rack metals were derived ethically, or the laptops came in recycled packaging. The result? Half our customer’s ESG measurability battle is won based on the way we partner and source our infrastructure and services.

Every aspect of the cloud pizza is measurable – but the special sauce is the people. Deep cloud expertise is sprinkled on top to configure cloud workload, to design software and to manage utilisation and scaling for exactly the right balance of sustainability and business performance, dependent on client needs.

Using cloud to further your sustainability goals can be significant. A recent report estimate that using cloud versus traditional infrastructure models can reduce carbon emissions by up to 75%. But the sustainability journey doesn’t stop with your cloud migration.

What you do when in the cloud, is hugely impactful.

Operate your cloud in tune with your business

In the cloud, implementing operational policies and procedures that keep the cloud well-tuned to reflect your commitment to sustainability is important.

Whilst all the major cloud providers and infrastructure manufacturers have impressive sustainability programs, incorporating everything from recycled manufacturing materials and renewable packaging, through to energy efficient datacentres and ‘carbon intelligent’ computing platforms, the way your cloud partner configures and optimises the applications and data sets you run, adds significant value.

Monitoring cloud performance is not something an organisation can necessarily do effectively while focused on driving the business forward – but the right cloud partner is resourced to tune performance 24/7 in the background. They have the capability to monitor, measure and adjust; alerting you to upcoming hazards or potential opportunities as they come into view.

Does your ESG strategy and technology strategy align?

To make your cloud impact positive, your ESG vision and technology strategy (including cloud) should be inextricably linked together towards meaningful organisational impact.

Yet we learned in our Datacom Annual Cloud report, that one third of organisations across ANZ either have no sustainability strategy, or these are ad-hoc in nature, or their IT department is not involved in ESG efforts. So clearly – there’s a bit of work to do.

We encourage organisations to embrace sustainable changes proactively, rather than waiting until ESG requirements force changes. This means front-footing sustainability in the cloud, and making strategic and daily technology decisions that contribute to the greater good.

For instance, understanding your IT asset fleet is of vital importance. Datacom’s circularity service’s team estimate that the average large business that we work with has 1.8 computing devices per user. Yet our research tells us they only need 1.3 without compromising any user experience. In other words, they are over-provisioning by a third-of-a-device per person. Taking out that excess, has huge potential to improve waste, utilisation and value going forward.

Migrating from legacy and on-premise data centres to the cloud to help with increasing computing and storage needs? By choosing the right cloud provider aligned with your ESG outcomes, you can gain visibility on and help reduce the impact of your IT footprint on the environment.

More sustainability can equal more value

Increasing value is about everything from the way you audit and provide a singular snapshot of the IT fleet for greater visibility, to the decisions you make around sustainable IT procurement and deployment. Could agile warehousing competencies shave months off the deployment process as well as reducing the carbon footprint? Are you optimising fleet utilisation for the greatest value?

Today, the modern IT team can be armed with so many powerful tools such as device telemetry for performance optimisation, AI for predictive insights, and carbon intelligent computing that it is infinitely easier to keep the IT fleet in tune with the cloud – ensuring all that sustainable cloud goodness you researched and procured, does not get wasted up the supply chain.

Such visibility provides for a stronger return on investment too. The afore mentioned team in circularity services are proving the business case for sustainability every day, and it is not limited to hardware.

For example, over the course of six years a Federal Government Dept (AU) client harnessing ITAM Services saved over $6.3M on software costs by reviewing unused software and optimising their software environment and contracts. Furthermore, they remediated four years’ worth of leasing to avoid extending assets that no longer existed and implemented new leasing standards. This is a complex entity, in a complex environment with multiple data centres and with over 60% device growth.

Think, plan and act sustainably to drive positive impact

As our generation continues to face a set of global challenges that are testing us like never before, it is critical for organisations to think, plan and act sustainably on and in the cloud. Moreover, there are significant gains to be made for those that do so; in reputation, ESG compliance, business value, IT asset utilisation, employee loyalty and customer brand preference (to name but a few).

Consider this checklist to help you achieve greater sustainability across your wider IT and cloud environment:

1.     Are you utilising the tools and techniques available to tune your IT environment for the best sustainability outcomes?

2.     Have you benchmarked your current performance from an IT perspective and can you measure improvements?

3.     Do you understand your ESG objective(s) and the timeframe you have to achieve them?

4.     Are you willing to sacrifice the performance of, or increase the cost of services to achieve a more sustainable outcome?

5.     Does the IT department consider sustainability when designing new solutions?

6.     Have you identified the quick wins and more strategic programs to achieve sustainability improvements?

7.     Do you have the right people with the right skills in place to deliver on business, ESG and IT strategies?

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