How sustainability-led digital experiences can boost performance, staff retention, and cost-savings

By John Atkinson, Director of Solutions Engineering, UK&I at Riverbed Technology.

  • 4 months ago Posted in

Today, over 80% of leaders – from cloud providers, executives, and software engineers to IT teams and boards of directors – are prioritizing environmental sustainability. And for reasons beyond implementing good practice, satisfying consumer demands, and meeting increasingly stringent environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, like the European Green Deal and international Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocols. Companies that drive sustainability transformation enjoy numerous benefits, including:

Enhancing corporate reputation and performance by appealing to conscious customers

Attracting and retaining staff, and building a gratifying environment for them to work in

Supporting our planet’s future and empowering the next generation of leaders

Realizing significant cost reductions through initiatives like energy optimization


It’s unsurprising, then, that a recent survey by CloudBolt found that two-thirds of IT leaders say cloud providers’ sustainability initiatives are a crucial factor in determining who they do business with. However, raising environmental awareness about emissions, resource depletion, and e-waste – while trying to meet the needs of customers, employees, and potential business partners – can prove challenging. Here are three ways organizations can align their IT efforts with broader business sustainability goals and reap the rewards of thinking green.


Support a sustainable hybrid workforce

Post-pandemic, many firms have adopted a hybrid way of working, with a new trend for employees spending some time remotely and some in-office. These companies must extend the lifespan of laptops to achieve sustainable aims and cost-saving objectives alike, while meeting user performance expectations. They also need to collect, measure, and report accurate data on sustainability metrics, like energy consumption, to enable informed decision-making and continuous improvement.


This may seem difficult across a highly distributed modern IT network but using a comprehensive digital employee experience (DEX) platform, it becomes a simple task. Especially when that platform delivers actionable insights and intelligent automation, like those from unified observability specialists Riverbed.


Tools like these capture and correlate granular end-user performance data and environmental credentials from all applications and devices, including laptops, and centralize it in one unified dashboard. Monitored metrics could include device uptime, carbon emissions, electricity consumption, and running costs, allowing IT teams to identify energy-saving opportunities, cut costs, fulfil reporting requirements, and promote behavioral change.


Unified observability tools can use AI-driven automation capabilities to further streamline sustainable IT practices and operational efficiency – for example, by triggering a change in power plan settings, shutting down idle devices remotely, and informing users about their energy consumption and ways to limit it. Day-to-day management and support functions can cut resource consumption, too, minimizing the footprint of human intervention to reduce failures.


Involve stakeholders from across the business

According to a Gartner CEO survey, sustainability is now one of the top 10 business priorities for CEOs. Companies with experience in promoting sustainable practices typically have executive-level sponsorship, but even then, getting started is often the hardest step. Organizations should consider creating a steering committee and working together to devise an environmental action plan. This should involve baselining sustainability metrics, incorporating sustainability goals into corporate values, prioritizing projects, and assigning responsibility.


The most obvious members may include Sustainability or ESG Officers and other environmental leaders, who usually have a broad scope in managing and addressing environmental concerns and promoting organization-wide sustainability. Additionally, businesses should consider inviting IT Operations Directors and VPs, who typically oversee and implement strategies. New options could be created, or existing strategies tailored, to meet sustainability goals – for example, by reducing energy consumption and carbon footprints, managing e-waste, and ensuring compliance with environmental regulations and standards.


Compliance Officers and Risk Managers can add value to such committees as well, as they have experience aligning business practices with IT operations and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations, industry standards, and internal policies. Their involvement can help define reporting requirements and streamline compliance processes.


Engage every employee

While top-level support is critical, every employee’s mindset and persona-based needs must be investigated and considered so companies can promote the adoption of useful, relevant, and welcomed sustainable practices. One way they can gather this information, and simultaneously enhance staff engagement, is through DEX solutions that offer sentiment surveys.


Moreover, platforms that adeptly translate environmental insight into tangible, real-world estimations have a greater ability to influence employee behavior – for example, by converting carbon emissions into comparable units, like the number of mature trees required to offset them.


In conclusion, embracing sustainability in IT, benefits both our planet and the financial performance of conscious companies. To deliver successful sustainable IT initiatives, organizations need a comprehensive DEX platform, executive-level sponsorship, employee backing, and – perhaps most critically – the deep understanding that their business’s future depends on prioritizing their environmental responsibility alongside meeting customer and staff expectations.

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