Not only do organisations have to cope with the obvious implications of a recession, they also have to cope with the inevitable reduction in government spending and the potential cost impact of new government legislation. One such piece of legislation is the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), a new government-backed legislative carbon emissions trading scheme that came into effect on April 1.
The CRC is a mandatory climate change and energy saving scheme in the U.K. and its aims to improve energy efficiency and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted in the U.K. This is vital to achieving the government's targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 by at least 80%. Organisations that use a certain amount of electricity will be obliged to participate in the scheme and monitor their emissions. They will have to buy allowances from the government for each tonne of CO2 they emit, creating a significant incentive for organisations to reduce their emissions and in turn saving money by not wasting energy.
How to pass the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
The best organisations confront the reality of the situation they see in front of them, adapt quickly and constantly look to refine and improve their recipe. Many IT departments in large organisations, such as Local Authority Education Bradford (LA), are already realising this ongoing reality and are looking to technology from focused service providers to assist them.
The best organisations confront the reality of the situation they see in front of them, adapt quickly and constantly look to refine and improve their recipe.
Paul Evans, Managing Director, Redstor,
The LA wanted to ensure that its teachers and IT technicians were not distracted by unimportant yet urgent tasks such as SIMS SQL upgrades, security patch deployments and device management, all of which can be very time consuming. The LA thought it best to employ SERCO, a business services company based in North Hampshire, which holds a 10 year contract with Bradford Metropolitan Council to manage and operate the local education authority.
The LA needed SERCO to completely manage and maintain over 800 devices in 180 schools. SERCO, in turn, realised that it would need a device management technology to help provide efficient services and save time by automating mundane and repetitive tasks. By implementing CentraStage, a technology which provides remote device management, the LA/SERCO created an overall efficiency gain of 20% by offering schools the ability to turn off PCs and optimise power settings, giving Education Bradford the potential to reduce its carbon emissions by up to 223 tonnes for the first year in line with the requirements of the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.
The LA has been using CentraStage for over 12 months and has calculated the annual cost savings to be over £55,000 per annum. It is now able to offer new services to schools without having to take on additional staff and has calculated that over 2,500 hours of school ICT "downtime" has been avoided. Support call times were also reduced by 4.5 minutes on average, allowing staff to use their time more effectively and focus on teaching instead of monitoring and managing school technology.
New business challenges and how to face them
In tougher economic times, business managers are forced to scrutinise their organisational structure and people to see whether or not they have the right team to address the changing and emerging landscape.
Managers need to reappraise current ways of working in order to see if there are aspects which could be carried out better by a third-party organisation, along with seeing if IT can be used to enhance the customer experience more cost effectively through increasing the productivity of staff.
It is important for business managers to look carefully at where staff resources and money is potentially being wasted or lost and ask the question: "Can I automate these tasks to save time and money as well as maintaining good customer service?" More often than not, the answer is yes.
Automating repetitive and mundane tasks frees up organisations to target and align their workforce more appropriately on important, front-line customer-facing responsibilities. This allows higher level business goals to be achieved by ensuring staff are not distracted by unimportant yet urgent tasks.
What needs to change?
For years, the IT industry has been dominated by large organisations with well-known and trusted brand names, selling expensive kit and licenses to business customers that do not need them. Only now are organisations beginning to realise the amount of money that has been wasted over the years on idle equipment and unused licenses.
Customers have, of course, realised this, and with capital budgets being cut or frozen, they are now looking at pay-as-you-go/grow services and solutions. IT service providers need to change their culture and realise that customers are no longer interested in being sold IT software and hardware but are in receiving an on-demand service backed by a good service-level agreement (SLA).
This demand is fuelling the growth of Software as a Service (SaaS) and allows end users to save money by only paying for services as and when they use them. Businesses need to offer on-demand, repeatable and scalable services backed by a strong SLA, as CIOs are being far more scrupulous about the services and results they get for their money.
The IT channel must be prepared for this change in customer demands by being more versatile. Channel partners offering siloed services will struggle to compete as the economic recovery brings aggressive competition.
Redstor believes that customers should be able to plug into a service when they need it and turn it off when they don't.
Business is all about how to make money and saving money, and the recent recession has had a drastic impact on how businesses go about doing this. However you choose to define a recession, the economic results are always the same: job losses, a decline in real income, a slowdown in industrial production and manufacturing and a slump in consumer spending.
Paul Evans, is the managing director of U.K. reseller Redstor and a Contributor to SearchVirtualDataCentre.co.uk.
This was first published in May 2010