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How Deloitte's IT team has gone green

Yes, the energy savings are nice, but for Deloitte CIO Larry Quinlan, green IT is just part of running an efficient IT shop

By Paul Desmond, Network World
September 01, 2008 12:08 AM ET

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Videoconferencing is another one we're spending quite a bit of money on. We're putting in high-definition immersive videoconferencing. Some of these rooms are large, they can hold 20 people. They really allow us to bring travel down. In addition, we're moving to videoconferencing all the way to the desktop. We're putting in travel scorecards to track how many trips are being taken and the travel metrics. We really want to see some reduction as a result of our videoconferencing deployments.

What about your education and awareness initiatives?

We've got Web sites going to get the awareness messages out there. We have a variety of leadership meetings across the country and green IT is now one of the things we're highlighting. We'll have a booth there that tells people about the various initiatives.

What elements of your program would you say are delivering the most bang for the buck thus far?

Server consolidation for sure. That's the one where we're most mature. We understand how to do virtualization of the servers and we've removed hundreds of servers from the environment already. In the data center, there's been a reduction of backup tapes and such, so we're getting there with that. In the practice offices, we're well underway with the printers, duplex printing and the videoconferencing deployments. We're really just getting started with the whole PDA recycling program and getting people accustomed to it. We're about to ramp it up now by actually requiring it.

What has been the reaction so far to some of those user-facing initiatives like the PDA recycling? How are people taking to it?

People actually love this stuff. We've designed a program that is palatable to everyone. The only two that require them to do anything are the PDA recycling – and who's going to complain about that? We gave you a free PDA and now we're saying bring it back so you can get a new one and oh by the way we're going to save the earth when you do. The big one is getting people accustomed to duplex printing. People don't really like seeing print on both sides of the paper. But we have a built-in advantage. We are a growing enterprise, so we have a lot of younger people in the organization and they're much more attuned to a save the earth kind of campaign. We believe that acceptance of duplex printing is growing. And But the fact that we're making it the default on many of our devices just makes it easy. Once you get over the, "I got to remember to look at the other side of the page," it becomes OK.

You've also got a strategy to eliminate applications and centralize what's left. How does that relate to your green IT efforts?

Application centralization has several benefits to it. First, of the techniques one would use to do application centralization, the first is platform standardization. Instead of building multiple applications to do the same kind of collaboration, you build all of the applications on a common platform. The second is application standardization [as in the CRM example mentioned earlier]. That's just good business in my mind and allows us to be more nimble and agile. And if you standardize those platforms and associated applications, it goes a long way toward doing server virtualization and consolidation; that's where the green benefit comes in.

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