The Information Technologist’s Role in Sustainability
Information technology (IT) professionals can have a powerful effect on the sustainability of an industrial organization through their influence on strategy as well as hardware and software.
Integrating factory-floor monitoring and automation systems with enterprise and dashboard systems empowers workers to control quality, track materials and meter energy so they can identify, implement and measure the results of conservation initiatives.
Expanded and integrated control networks allow easy and flexible management of high-energy-consumption infrastructure systems such as lighting, HVACR, compressed air and even IT’s own servers.
Extending the company’s IT infrastructure through mobile, wireless and virtual private network (VPN) capabilities can reduce energy consumption for transportation and minimize office square footage by allowing personnel to work in any location, raise efficiency through direct data input, and increase safety through IT-enabled personnel and equipment monitoring systems.
Of course, IT managers have a central role in selecting energy-efficient hardware including data centers and desktops, and ensuring purchased equipment is manufactured in accordance with your standards for sustainable suppliers. You also can help users operate this equipment efficiently with appropriate energy-management software and settings.
Finally, as keepers of an organization’s network nervous system and software intellect, IT managers have enormous influence on the speed, smoothness and functionality available for supporting others’ efforts to improve sustainability.