Energy Efficiency and IT: Acting Beyond the Data Center

Blog | May 17, 2011 by Brian Wasson

For many IT groups, “sustainability” means nothing more than making their data centers more energy efficient. As important as that is, a growing number of companies have realized that the effective use of IT is the key to running their entire business in a sustainable fashion, providing a clear view into energy use and costs; driving insights, action, and savings; and simplifying stakeholder reporting.

In a session on Monday afternoon titled “Energy Efficiency and IT: Acting Beyond the Data Center,” two SAP customers joined SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann to talk about how their companies use IT to drive sustainability. Bussmann led off by talking about SAP’s long-term sustainability targets, including reducing its greenhouse gas emissions back to year-2000 levels by 2020, and how “SAP runs SAP” software to drive this aggressive goal.

Emily Thomas from Arch Chemicals, a global biocides company, says her company has always been interested in energy efficiency, although it’s more important than ever as increasing energy costs represent a major cost for the company. But beyond the need to reduce costs, Arch Chemicals also views sustainability as important to its stakeholders, including customers, governments, and employees. With a lean sustainability team of only two employees, Arch Chemicals used to spend a lot of time using spreadsheets to track sustainability data from its locations. Installing the SAP Carbon Impact OnDemand solution, though, changed everything.

“Now that I’ve gone to SAP Carbon Impact OnDemand, I’ll never go back,” Thomas noted. “It easily saves us from having an extra one or two employees on the team.” The software allows Arch Chemicals to standardize data collection, moving it from a manual process driven through Thomas’ team to one that shifts the data collection out to facilities, providing better quality data in a much faster fashion. She also was pleased by the ability to respond much faster to the multitude of stakeholder reporting requests she gets every month, saying that having standardized data in SAP Carbon Impact OnDemand allows Arch Chemicals to do “what used to take weeks in less than a day.” Arch Chemicals will also soon begin to report to the Carbon Disclosure Project, easily accomplished by “pushing one button in Carbon Impact” to create a report, according to Thomas.

Representing Baker Hughes, an oilfield services company, Gordon Williams noted they have many things to track across their enterprise, which is why they use the SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP MII) application. The software allows Baker Hughes to get shop-floor level visibility that allows the company to improve efficiencies on many fronts. “You have to have good data to do analysis,” he said. “It allows you to make good business decisions that make an impact.”

That’s the key, agreed Thomas. “We needed a single, user-friendly tool to track our energy and water use,” she said. “Carbon Impact allows our facility managers to access data and make real-time decisions.”

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