Skip to Content

How to create a Green IT virtuous circle

Philippe Roques
July 7, 2020

Current carbon footprinting methodologies are too crude to identify sustainability improvements within an organization’s Information Systems (IS), for reasons examined in part two of this blog series. CIOs keen to adopt digital sobriety – the deliberate mitigation of the environmental cost of IT – need an approach that provides fine-grained insights into their application and infrastructure landscape.

I have been building an approach that does exactly that for the past 10 years, admittedly originally with a cost-cutting agenda. We call it economic Application Portfolio Management (eAPM). When we started, it was obvious that a continuous IT improvement loop had to be driven by facts – a really clear picture of the existing app landscape and the business implications of any changes. Later, we added infrastructure considerations too.

eAPM is based on the idea of assembling a highly accurate digital twin of an enterprises’ IT ecosystem, then mirroring this data in a financial model. By changing the makeup of this portfolio twin, we can show what the business impact will be. Clients immediately grasped the value of what eAPM had to offer, and this approach has opened the door to numerous long-standing and highly successful transformation partnerships.

New priorities

Cost optimization will never cease to be a prime motivator, especially in the current climate, but sustainability is becoming increasingly important for organizations too. The central idea behind eAPM was always to provide concrete, accurate models of the business outcomes of changes to an organization’s IT landscape – only now those “business outcomes” have widened to include environmental responsibility.

The CIO holds all the cards needed to implement energy sobriety. It’s just a matter of adopting new decision-making criteria for a better use of resources. This is an efficiency approach that can be pragmatically integrated into the CIO’s agenda. An efficiency approach that ultimately contributes to an approach of excellence.

Today, CIOs are asking themselves two new questions: is my IT energy efficient, and how do I shrink our carbon footprint? Answering these requires three steps:

Where to start?

Data collection is achieved both with automated systems and with questionnaires designed for informed representatives in the infra and application teams and application domain managers.

This new challenge is an opportunity to reappropriate information and ownership. The first step is to implement measurement and analysis capabilities. We know how to evaluate how many VMs or servers we have and the average PUE. The equations to be solved are manifold, but the collection of assets and measurements by a bottom-up approach can be corroborated by a top-down approach. The interest is to be able to go back to the application level. This is where we will be able to have a positive impact.

A compelling case  

Analysis is performed by an AI-driven virtual expert as well as by human Capgemini eAPM experts. Working together, they provide a first analysis within a few weeks.

Crucially, analyses are made against sector-specific benchmarks established from our experience of hundreds of IT ecosystems.

Insights are only useful if stakeholders find them convincing. eAPM ensures this with the eAPM Studio tool, which creates compelling visualizations of the data analysis, and the impact of proposed changes.

A virtuous circle

An eAPM deployment gives an organization a single, comprehensive repository of data about its IT landscape, and a clear action plan for improvement. But nothing stands still. Conditions can change – very quickly and dramatically as we have seen this year – calling for new strategies. Our clients typically come back to eAPM, each iteration building on the foundation of the last, to refine their responses to a changing world. It’s this continuous improvement loop that makes a real, long-term impact on an organization’s ability to meet business objectives, even as they shift into new areas like digital sobriety.

Read part 1: Why there’s a paradox at the heart of Green IT

Read part 2: There’s more to your carbon footprint than you think