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Technology and creativity is helping us to find solutions to overcome the effects of dwindling resources and future natural disasters.
Resources are dwindling. From oil to aluminium the planet is running out of the commodities that have fuelled a century of growth and the development of our modern lifestyles. The irony is that the consumption and growth that got us to where we are now has also been a catalyst for innovation, and it’s that creativity that’s helping us find the solutions to move forward. In today’s world, neither bank balances nor reputations can survive unsustainable practices, and efficiencies need to be built into all levels of operations. The connections between us have helped to make the world a smaller place and, while that makes the scarcity of resources a more evident problem, it also generates some of the tools we need to manage the problems we face.
Why it matters With the global recession and recent disasters (think Fukushima) illustrating just how fragile modern society is, the ability to cope with and overcome disasters is vital. Supply chains need to be more efficient and, while there are still vital resources left, the world needs to prepare for when they’re truly exhausted. From climate change and food shortages through to dwindling oil supplies and drought, technology, connectivity and innovation are helping us thrive in the face of adversity, to emerge from a gloomy economic climate stronger and more resilient than ever. Corporate responsibility It’s now a matter of corporate responsibility that organisations drive economic and environmental sustainability into their operations. Wasted resources and unnecessary carbon emissions are two of the most pressing globally-important issues to be addressed. Tackling them globally means all organisations need to take a share of the responsibility for them. BT Group is revamping the way it approaches corporate social responsibility (CSR) by reducing the carbon impact of its entire business, while at the same time delivering the network solutions that can help customers do the same for theirs. With the cost of energy rising with demand and booming fuel costs having knock-on effects for supply chains,
efficiencies in ICT can help organisations counter the difficulties they face in other areas of their business. As part of a wider group initiative, BT is in the process of calculating the carbon intensity of each of its products and working out how much carbon goes into running its operations. By leveraging ICT it hopes that by 2020 the carbon impact of its whole business will be just a third of the amount it saves, achieved through its own internal efficiencies and through the products and services it provides for customers. This marks a shift to a position where BT is doing more than just talking about the potential financial savings people can make by using BT product; it’s also promoting the environmental up-side of using them — benefits that stem right from the development of the products themselves, through production and implementation, and on to the benefits they offer organisations once they’re in use.
“ Not only do we see reductions on our carbon output, but also schools are using less space. Across the estate of 450 schools, only having to input data once rather than up to five times, we’ve calculated the savings could be as much as £2million to £4million.”
Assistant Director, Children’s Services (Business and Compliance), Norfolk County Council.
Harvesting the Californian sun
BT decided to construct a solar power system to supply renewable energy for its US headquarters in Los Angeles County. Going solar has delivered significant business advantages, including cost savings and reduced carbon emissions in support of BT’s sustainability goals.
Think smart, think sustainable
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) provides the global financial community with secure and electronic messaging services, handling more than 17 million transactions every working day. Managing such massive volumes of business requires huge, distributed processing power, and SWIFT recognises its social responsibility to reduce the carbon footprint of that estate.
Some innovative companies are trying to improve the sustainability of everything from their own production line to the actions of the customers that use their products. Swedish engineering firm SKF makes high-quality bearings and seals designed to minimise energy use in engineering, and even operates under the tag-line: ‘Helping our customers reduce environmental impact’. SKF is also extremely dedicated to sustainability in its own business, and set about a rigorous programme of carbon reduction throughout its systems. By continuously improving product development processes SKF can now bring energy-efficient products to market faster, cutting its costs and helping customers minimise their carbon emissions. By making changes to manufacturing processes products can be built more efficiently, and changes to IT systems played a big role in realising the organisation’s ambitions to be a responsible, sustainably-run entity. Many of SKF’s IT processes are automated, so the infrastructure that supports business processes, from product development to shipping and logistics, rely heavily on its network. By ensuring that systems are reliable, resilient and scalable SKF has made huge strides towards achieving its ambitions for more sustainable operations.
“We set ourselves a stretching goal of
reducing carbon emissions by 60% over the five year period to the end of 2012. We initially focused on lowhanging fruit such as the use of green fuels, more energy efficient buildings, and reduced travel.”
reddy Norris F
Manager of Sustainable Development at SWIFT
While SWIFT dealt with the initial targets it set itself, the proportion of carbon produced by its IT systems increased from 25 to 40 per cent as a proportion of the whole, so SWIFT set about tackling those emissions as a priority. By streamlining its IT estate and working with an expert provider to drive efficiencies into its systems, SWIFT is now on track to meet its 2012 sustainability targets.
As well as playing a big role in helping organisations reduce their carbon impact, technology and connectivity play their part in managing the demand for resources. The struggle for resources is compelling organisations to reassess the way they operate, and work to maximise the potential of what they already have. Intelligent networks help find dynamic ways to make the world a better place. The most advanced ICT solutions on earth are united by the simplicity that helps them do basic things well; they help remove bottlenecks from IT systems, save energy, and allow networks to prioritise the right processes at busy times. Some of the best efficiencies are entrenched in IT by intelligent networks, and BT is driving their development, helping businesses take advantage of the ICT-led opportunities to be and do better. operations, big and small, improving what they already have, or doing more with less, is key to future growth and prosperity. Anglo American is a company more aware than most of the scarcity of resources. As one of the world’s largest mining companies it excavates commodities like iron ore, manganese, coal, copper and nickel, as well as precious metals and minerals. It’s also a global leader in both platinum and diamond mining, and runs massive growth and exploration projects around the world. In order to improve the efficiency of its global network and to help it build efficiencies into its processes, Anglo American turned to BT for intelligent networking solutions. With such an extensive network of interests around the world, Anglo American had requirements in 15 countries across Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe, including locations in remote mining areas. To maximise the network’s performance and help prioritise important network activity, BT deployed its Connect Applications service at 65 locations around the world. It also provided global internet access and secure remote access capabilities for Anglo American’s mobile workers. The organisation’s voice services were combined onto a single infrastructure, delivering substantial savings by simplifying management and enabling services like IP telephony that help its employees collaborate better. As part of its drive to improve efficiency, Anglo American also introduced phone, web and video conferencing, helping the organisation work much more efficiently by removing the need to travel around the world for meetings, for example - without compromising productivity.
“At BT we do everything we can to
make sure our networks can cope with change. We know that for organisations the priority is to have applications running smoothly, all the time. So we need to make sure our networks are sensitive enough to adapt to any changes in demand.”
Senior product marketing manager BT Global Services
Achieving these efficiencies in IT is more important than ever as many organisations face compliance issues. In all
Field the force
And while global organisations — especially ones like Anglo American that operate in such remote places — have more obvious communications problems to overcome, there’s scope to build efficiencies into all organisations, whatever industry they’re in. Northumbrian Water provides water to 4.3million people in the UK. It’s invested heavily to build a sustainable future for regional water and sewage services while, at the same time, keeping costs low for customers. It has over 1,100 field workers and manages a fleet of around 1,000 vehicles. With such a large number of mobile workers, Northumbrian water took the initiative to leverage the nature of its operations as a means of building efficiencies into its daily operations. Field Force Automation (FFA) offers the same benefits to Northumbrian Water as flexible-working programmes offer to organisations that wouldn’t traditionally work remotely — flexibility, costs savings through reduced property costs, and happier, more productive staff who often work longer hours. Brian Olley, Work Management Programme Manager at Northumbrian Water said: “It was clear from the outset that FFA was not an end in itself but an enabler for cultural and business change within Northumbrian Water. It’s already apparent that the combination of technology, process rationalisation, and the greater visibility of jobs and the fleet are having a remarkable impact on our efficiency and effectiveness.” Efficiencies in work allocation and scheduling were key contributors to the lower costs of utilities, and FFA helped
improve information flows to and from mobile workers, greatly improving customer service and productivity. Brian Olley said: “Our industry is heavily regulated and year-on-year efficiency improvement targets are demanded of water companies. Whilst Northumbrian Water was continuing to deliver better returns our rate of progress was beginning to fall behind some of our competitors. A step change was required and FFA was the key.” He added: “FFA is fundamentally about people, with the technology just an enabler of process change.” FFA is now a flagship aspect of Northumbrian Water’s operational transformation and plays a big part in the sustainable practices that are helping it thrive in today’s tough economic climate.
Small change equals big difference
The smallest of changes can make a big difference to the sustainability of an organisation’s practices. Because communications infrastructures evolve in a piecemeal way it’s easy to underestimate the cumulative effect of the inefficiencies inflicted on networks. Global energy giant AREVA knew there were savings to be made in its mobile estate, and set about cutting its mobile communications costs by 40 per cent worldwide. With 48,000 employees around the world and a presence in more than 100 countries, such a large cut was not easy, especially since its mobility costs were rising sharply. Data usage accounted for 26 per cent of the organisation’s mobility bill as employees increasingly adopted smartphones, and roaming charges were also growing dramatically, making up 30 per cent of the bill. AREVA turned to BT to help it find the cost savings it wanted. Using BT’s Mobile Telecom Expense Management (MTEM) Quick Start service, experts from BT analysed AREVA’s mobile estate and developed a plan to help it achieve its aims.
“We were looking for a proven,
packaged approach for analysing mobile usage and BT MTEM Quick Start met requirements.”
operator we knew its advice would be completely impartial and for our benefit.” The new mobile operator is delivering savings of 45 per cent for AREVA, exceeding the original target of 40 per cent. Jean-Baptiste Quelquejay said: “We really appreciated the speed with which the BT mobility team reacted in order to help us resolve our issues. Everything was delivered on time and to higher standards than we could anticipate. Thanks to BT’s knowhow, we’ve gained new insight into our mobile fleet — such as discovering more users, in more countries, than we thought we had — and BT’s managed mobility expertise has allowed us to leverage our mobility savings up to 45 per cent.” AREVA’s new internal mobility policy also encourages more cost-sensitive behaviour from its employees by, for example, sending monthly bills directly to them to help increase their awareness of mobile expenditure.
Head of Services and Information Systems AREVA
The BT team and AREVA worked together on a tight schedule, analysing the organisation’s mobile fleet and reviewing existing mobile policies in order to draft the proposals for making changes to increase sustainability. When finalised and delivered, Jean-Baptiste Quelquejay said: “By sharing its experience of negotiating mobile contracts for other organisations, BT strengthened AREVA’s credibility with suppliers and gave us greater leverage in negotiation. And because BT is not a mobile
Strive for efficiency
By looking at their specific needs, organisations can achieve the efficiencies that will streamline their operations, helping them play their role in a world striving for efficiency in the face of limited resources. Clever use of technology can help organisations be more sustainable — both environmentally and economically — than ever before. Smart organisations are using network technology to deliver efficiency-led solutions to problems caused by dwindling resources. And it’s clear that, as resources decline, the most successful organisations will be the ones that act now to prepare for what’s to come.
Join the conversation at www.letstalk.globalservices.bt.com/en/
What it all means
• Resources are dwindling so organisations must come up with innovative and creative solutions to stay competitive and continue to provide the service they offer. • Connectivity and innovation are helping organisations thrive in the face of adversity, making them stronger and more resilient than ever before. • Neither bank balances nor reputations can survive unsustainable practices. • Limited resources are a global problem; every organisation bears responsibility for improving its sustainability throughout its operations. • Targets have the power to focus effort and drive sustainability improvements from the production line through to customers. • Technology helps organisations act in a more sustainable way by cutting carbon emissions and reducing energy use. • Intelligent use of technology can ensure sustainability even as resources continue to decline.
The telecommunications services described in this publication are subject to availability and may be modified from time to time. Services and equipment are provided subject to British Telecommunications plc’s respective standard conditions of contract. Nothing in this publication forms any part of any contract. © British Telecommunications plc 2012 Registered office: 81 Newgate Street, London EC1A 7AJ Registered in England No: 1800000 PHME ****
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