Saturday, October 24, 2009

Green Business Intelligence

Green Business Intelligence is a new buzz word in BI world nowadays. More than one third of Gartner Survey respondents plan on spending more than 15% of their IT dollars on Green IT projects. Most of these projects fall into the "improve energy efficiency" category for short-term, immediate cost savings.

So, with 15% of IT dollars going toward green projects, can BI initiatives be a part of that? Absolutely. Key to the success of green projects is measuring and monitoring. If a project claims to reduce energy usage, that usage must be measured before the project begins and monitored afterwards through the payback period (and potentially beyond). Web based BI systems can help move companies to a paperless environment.

Reducing power consumptions in servers is one way to contribute to green initiatives of a company.BI Systems can help companies to measure and monitor usage of hardware resources(CPU, RAM, Network, Storage Etc..). It can forecast hardware resource requirements based on historical data & events. This will help companies to consolidate hardware resources & there by reducing power consumption.One of pre-requisite for such BI system is to have centralized IT data mart which can collect & store data from various performance & monitoring tools like CA Unicenter or Tivoli or Open View.

Inventory management is perhaps the most important step where BI can improve efficiency. Not having the right product in store will lead to lost sales and unhappy shoppers or excess inventory. Either is bad for the environment. When consumers don’t find what they are looking for, they make additional trips, increasing the carbon footprint of their shopping. Excess inventory leads to waste (especially in the case of perishable products), affecting both the environment and margins. Most progressive retailers have implemented perpetual inventory systems to keep track of what is on the shelf, and advanced replenishment systems to forecast demand and generate orders based on past trends and current factors. While these systems have helped run a more efficient operation, they are not perfect. Business intelligence can help retailers get smart by analysing issues in forecasting, understanding their root causes and preventing future exceptions. Accurate inventory visibility in store is a key input for upstream operations such as manufacturing and distribution, to reduce waste, cost and carbon footprint.

In the near future green reporting is going to be as mandatory as any other financial reporting. When tight controls are in place, people discover and reinvent more creative and efficient ways to save money. There is no better time than now to take action and allocate a piece of the budget toward serious and productive green IT. Environmental issues will shape the information management landscape for decades to come, affecting areas like data management and data governance. It also will have significant impact on areas such as competitive strategy, business intelligence marketing and even a company’s ability to attract and retain people.

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