Environmentally sustainable computing, or “Green IT”, is an idea that we are used to hearing about. This concept refers to the design, manufacture, use and disposal of computers and related hardware with minimal or no impact on the environment. The goals of green computing are the reduction in use of hazardous materials, increased energy efficiency and the promotion of recycling/biodegradability of components after use.
But the emphasis given in this field to the metrics and reduction of energy use ignores the fact that investment in ICT can save a great deal of energy and cost indirectly, by bringing greater efficiencies and new ways of working to your business. It’s this perspective that we are most intrigued by here at Company Net.
Bearing that in mind, perhaps the most obvious place to start is with cloud computing.
Cloud computing refers to the provision of computing as a service rather than a product, where shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility over the Internet. On an environmental level, the cloud makes sense because it removes the need for on-site servers and data centres, the power they use and the associated requirement for cooling. But aside from energy cost savings, there are plenty of other benefits for business in joining the cloud – office tools and documents can be accessed anywhere from any device with an internet connection. Collaboration and productivity are boosted, and remote working is easy and natural.
At Company Net we’ve just completed the process of migrating to Office 365, Microsoft’s new service that takes all of our email, documents, contacts and calendars into the cloud, ensuring that they’re always up to date and with us wherever we go. We’re already seeing the benefit of the cloud – working together and collaborating on documents has been transformed. Groups of us can work simultaneously on Excel spreadsheets, Word documents and OneNote notebooks in real time, all the while seeing who else is viewing and editing along with us. Problems with version control are eliminated and we’ve discovered we can work much more efficiently, thereby increasing our productivity. We’re also integrating Office 365′s Lync technology to keep ourselves connected across all channels, from IM to web conferencing. So it seems obvious that working in the cloud like this will become a prominent feature of the 2020 office.
While much has been written about workplaces moving to the cloud and its day-to-day advantages, there are larger benefits to the agility that working in the cloud can bring to give your business the competitive edge. For example, we now routinely demonstrate solutions to our clients within the cloud, a powerful tool in allowing them to see their solution in action, without any impact on their systems. The cloud allows you to rapidly provision your business with storage and processing power as and when required, and this article from Forbes magazine considers how cloud computing may even act as a platform for innovation within your organisation.
So what can you do today to get ready for the office of the future? This is the time to start thinking about how the cloud can work for your organisation. Stay up-to-date with the Cloud Conversation here and let us know what you think!