In my last blog, available HERE, I discussed how B2B automation contributed towards developing greener supply chains. I also explained how our cloud based Trading Grid platform was connected to over 600,000 businesses who collectively exchange over 16 Billion transactions per year around the world. In this article I thought I would take a slightly different look at how cloud based B2B environments contribute towards developing greener supply chains.
Today’s CIOs are accelerating their deployment of cloud based environments as they offer many operational benefits for companies. For example introducing improved infrastructure flexibility to react to market demands, simplifying the management of global business applications and of course providing improved predictability of long term fixed costs for managing applications. Here is a short video introducing OpenText’s cloud.
However as well as these operational benefits, there are a number of green related benefits that are probably not appreciated when a company decides to deploy a cloud based infrastructure. Companies today have a choice of running on premise, hybrid or full cloud solutions however for the purposes of this blog I will discuss green benefits relating to full cloud based environments. When companies deploy a full cloud solution they will obtain some significant indirect green benefits:
1. Reduction in paper usage due to the automation of manual based business transactions – Many companies have struggled to encourage all their trading partners, especially those in emerging markets, to exchange information electronically. Instead, many smaller suppliers still use manual paper based processes. For example in China the fax is still seen as one of the main business related communication methods. Also, there are various systems for exchanging shipping related documentation between logistics carriers and across customs and border control agencies. The very nature of cloud based environments means that they are quick to deploy, easy to use and simple to maintain on a daily basis, in other words ideal for use in the emerging markets and help to ensure you can achieve 100% trading partner enablement. The use of web based forms to replicate paper based form content means that even the smallest or least technically capable trading partner can simply enter or view information directly via a web based portal environment. Paper based versions of web forms can still be printed off if required, but in a cloud environment this is more of an on-demand process. Once information is entered via web based forms it automatically gets fed into some form of Software-as-a-Services application hosted within the cloud environment.
2. Lower power consumption requirements due to retiring legacy server and network hardware – This is one of the most important green related benefits that a company can realize by adopting a cloud based B2B infrastructure. Many companies around the world have spent millions of dollars establishing their own in-house data centres or server based infrastructures. From investing in highly available power supply infrastructures with uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) with diesel generator backups, extensive lighting infrastructures, through to implementing complex networking and air conditioning systems. When you combine all of these data centre infrastructure related assets together they contribute significantly towards a company’s overall carbon footprint.
3. Less data centre related equipment packaging to dispose of – In-house data centres require numerous servers, storage devices, networking equipment etc and these typically arrive from the IT suppliers in large, over packed boxes containing cardboard, wood, plastic and polystyrene. Once these pieces of equipment have been delivered, the packaging needs to be disposed of carefully or recycled but some could end up as landfill. In addition, depending on where your data centre equipment would traditionally be sourced from, the associated 3PL & transportation companys’ carbon footprint would also be considerably reduced.
4. Minimizes travel requirements for IT implementation resources – Many companies have established global IT teams to support their business operations. However in some cases there may be a need to extend an IT infrastructure into an emerging market such as China or India. In most cases companies will struggle to secure local resources to both implement and maintain a regional data centre and IT staff from other regions will be flown in at great expense to ensure a new IT infrastructure is up and running as soon as possible. Over the years companies have got use to flying IT staff around the world to support their remote operations, but how many companies have actually calculated the volume of greenhouse gases that have been created travelling to these locations and having data centre related hardware delivered by 3PL providers?
5. Encourages enterprise adoption of low powered mobile devices – The exponential growth in the adoption of mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones, combined with the development of mobile apps to get access to cloud based enterprise resources has helped to reduce the power consumption requirements across the internal and external enterprise. Up until a few years ago, enterprise resources were accessed through power hungry laptop and desktop PCs. The introduction of simple to use mobile apps has helped to extend the battery life of devices such as Apple’s iPad. These devices have also transformed how employees work remotely and whilst on the move, ie less battery recharging required. Another benefit of offering mobile access to cloud based resources is that information is available anytime, anyplace and anywhere so for example logistics carriers can process shipping information in a shorter time, minimizing border control related delays and thus ensuring that shipments reach their destination in a much shorter period of time.
If you would like to find out more about OpenText’s Cloud then please click HERE.