IT Leaders Have a Green Opportunity to Support Sustainability


There are multiple benefits to gain from investing resources into sustainability and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts — including operational efficiencies, swift compliance with regulations, employee and customer satisfaction, as well as the criticality of addressing climate change.

IT leaders have a significant role to play here. Estimates project that by 2040, IT operations will produce 14% of the world’s carbon-dioxide emissions — up from 4% today.

There is an opportunity to reduce these emissions, support sustainable business growth, and achieve other advantages by addressing IT systems and processes. And it should start with the network architecture.

IT consumes significant energy

“IT energy consumption is controllable, and every reduction of carbon emissions counts in the decade ahead,” said Patrick Ames, Editor in Chief, Juniper Books, who has published books that help organizations become “greener.”

There are certainly opportunities to become more energy efficient. For example, IT teams often spend 40% of their time troubleshooting network problems, having to gather data and replicate issues before being able to resolve them. Large enterprises with distributed offices and remote workers face additional challenges; network administrators and IT experts sometimes must travel to an affected site to diagnose and remediate problems, adding fuel consumption to the CO2 tally.

Another area where IT can make an impact: optimizing energy use at facilities and offices. Many organizations use always-on services to run not just lights and HVAC systems, but also computer hardware such as server appliances and batteries that power beacon location services and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors.

An intelligent approach to sustainability

A network architecture that incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) technologies should be the first step toward addressing IT energy consumption. Machine learning, for example, is used for rapid root-cause identification of network issues, and natural language processing (NLP) simplifies and speeds up support queries. Coupled with automation and analytics, these technologies can provide actionable insights and proactive remediation — and even self-healing.

Predictive and proactive resolution is an area where IT leaders can make a sustainability impact using an AI-driven network, says Bob Friday, Chief AI Officer and CTO of Enterprise Business at Juniper Networks. “By eliminating the toil around troubleshooting, organizations not only reduce the manual time to resolve a problem, they also can reduce the need for network experts to travel to a remote site for remediation.”

For example, Gap Inc. was able to reduce technical staff visits to its stores by 85% using an AI-driven network platform, which identifies issues before they become problems.

In the report “Day One Green: Using the GHG Protocol Framework to Examine Technology’s Role in Reducing Emissions,” author Paddy Berry describes another way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: intelligent location systems to optimize building energy usage and reduce the need for always-on services.

For example, the Mist AI™ network platform with built-in location services enables:

  • Broader understanding of building use and occupancy to help IT and business leaders better plan and consolidate real estate
  • Automated temperature management using built-in sensors
  • Automated power management of IoT and smart devices
  • Occupancy-based lighting and power management through automation

Intelligent services are part of the foundation of an AI-driven network and enable AI operations (AIOps). “AIOps helps you manage the network from end to end — from users or devices to the cloud and back,” Friday says.

It not only helps organizations quickly identify and remediate network issues to reduce manual toil and energy consumption, AIOps also “improves compliance efforts and the overall user experience,” he says.

As sustainability and ESG regulations increasingly take center stage, IT leaders have an opportunity to make a difference in compliance as well as green initiatives. Mist AI can aid in these efforts.

“Juniper provides a wide variety of network equipment and software which, when combined together, can facilitate some of the environmental IT outcomes which businesses are striving to deliver,” Berry writes.

Learn more about how Mist AI helps you go green from Day 1.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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