Ovum: ERP software can help save the world

Ovum: ERP software can help save the world

Analyst says better resource management can cut carbon consumption by large amounts

CIOs are ignoring the potential of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business intelligence (BI) software to help cut their carbon emissions, according to Ovum analysts.

Its Sustainability Management: An opportunity for CIOs report claims measures by CIOs to implement technologies, such as ERP and BI platforms, often pay for themselves within 12-18 months. Ovum senior analyst, Warren Wilson, said companies were increasingly aware of energy efficiency requirements on computers and servers, but these accounted for a relatively small amount of overall emissions.

“If you really want to attack the problem, you need to look at the big sources of energy and carbon, which are manufacturing processes, vehicle fleets and building operations,” he said. “If you’re going to track and analyse energy consumption from those things over time, it quickly becomes a data-intensive process and one that looks like what you achieve through ERP and BI applications.

“It’s a natural extension of those applications. CIOs should go to their vendors, ask what they can do in the area of sustainability, and look for a good, specific answer.”

The analyst said resellers and software vendors could sell the software solutions to CIOs that are looking to boost their prestige and cut carbon output by focusing on the sustainable IT outcomes such platforms offered.

“CIOs can do their organisations some good and themselves some good by raising their profiles and increasing their strategic contribution to the company,” he said. “But at this point it is a software vendor push, because CIOs are not used to looking at sustainability this broadly.”

“The concept that enterprise applications have a big role to play is only beginning to get wide recognition…there are 20-30 per cent emission cut examples and some cases where they can get 40 per cent savings, but this is not from enterprise apps alone.”

Wilson said SAP, Microsoft, IBM and Accenture were all examples of vendors with solutions that could tackle the problem using carbon accounting software.

“Reporting requirements are going to kick in around Europe and this will drive the market,” he said. “Consumers are also demanding more information of this sort. They want to go into a store and know which products are really greener.

“You can accomplish a lot by simply having greater visibility over where the energy is being used.”

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