Six ways IT teams can reduce their carbon footprint

Female working in a Technical Support Team Gives Instructions with the Help of the Headsets. In the Background People Working and Monitors Show Various Information, SysAdmin Day

Climate change is a monstrosity of a topic, so naturally there’s a lot of work to be done to tackle it.

But this doesn’t mean that every sustainability initiative must be major, to have an environmental impact. What’s perhaps more powerful, is the collective effort of as many people as possible, and the continued achievement of even marginal gains.

Carol McGrotty, head of transformation at cloud tech firm Vapour, uncovers six ways IT teams could reduce their carbon footprint in 2022 and beyond…

  1. Reviewing employee usage of existing tools

Throughout the pandemic, many organisations invested in technology in order to maintain a sense of ‘business as usual’ for their employees. However, fast forward to 2022 and several of these companies may now be finding such tools – which initially got them through the beginnings of the Covid-19 crisis – are no longer serving as great a purpose.

By taking a step back and assessing the entire tech stack, IT teams can truly understand what’s worth keeping, downgrading, or removing altogether. Intuitive data analytics can go deeper too – presenting insight to evidence how much or little employees are utilising specific tools.

At Vapour, we’ve also launched a new Application Monitoring as a Service (AMaaS) solution that provides ‘eyes’ across a company’s entire ecosystem, helping teams to identify a range of IT estate issues and optimise everything that happens from that point onwards.

If it’s not in use, stop the energy consumption associated with it, and streamline processes so excessive resource consumption is avoided.

  1. Making sustainability more than a tick-box exercise

Saying you’re committed to providing more eco-conscious solutions and actually following through are often two very different things for a lot of businesses.

If you’re wanting to be greener but aren’t quite sure where to start, there are plenty of Government resources available to support you in your environmentally friendly journey. We’d also recommend joining the SME Climate Hub – a global initiative that aims to mainstream climate action and helps to focus workforces on how they can be truly sustainable.

A scheme like this can also empower members of the team to come forward as internal ‘champions’ – making sure your workforce keeps on-track with their eco-commitments. We’ve signed up to be on the road to becoming net zero by 2040, for example.

From a ‘light touch’ point of view too, use 2022 as the opportunity to donate technology you no longer require to responsible take-back schemes, and give equipment to those in need.

  1. Working with likeminded suppliers

As well as reviewing your current tech stack, now is a good time to assess the list of current suppliers on your books – don’t be afraid to ask them about their environmental, social and corporate governance stance, and see if it aligns with your team’s own mission.

The same goes for when you’re onboarding new suppliers. Having a similar green ethos helps to empower your supply chain and provides additional benefits to customers too because they’re able to make positive changes by investing in more sustainable products and services.

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  1. Migrating to the cloud

With more organisations adopting a hybrid working employment model than ever before, the future of on-premise technology is uncertain to say the least.

Legacy, server-based systems require a lot of maintenance and cost to keep them running, and these are all reasons why several tech giants – such as Skype for Business and QuickBooks – are no longer applying sticking plasters, and instead shelving their older desktop products as a result.

When employees are demanding more ways to maintain productivity on-the-go – and without having to commute to the office every day – cloud-native technology creates a more flexible and sustainable solution for the hybrid working generation.

Additionally, for IT leaders seeking zero-touch provisioning, SD-WAN means they’ll have full visibility of their organisation and no longer be shackled by hardware installations when integrating their endpoint and network security.

  1. Implementing cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI)

AI and machine learning can play a vital role in reducing power consumption. Adopting a ‘clean cloud’ approach to your technology can really help workforces to become more sustainable.

Recent reports have even suggested that the IT sector consumes an estimated 7% of global electricity and AI solutions can help ‘reduce energy waste from building or offices that account for almost one-quarter of CO2 emissions’.

Cloud AI adoption can present an array of workforce benefits too – from providing greater efficiency to liberating employees who can instead prioritise tasks, knowing their ‘machine’ is taking care of the more labour-intensive, mundane work in the background.

  1. Exploring the possibilities of 5G

Although adoption is progressing at a slower rate in the UK compared to other countries across the globe, there’s an even greater requirement for workplace flexibility and efficiency – and that’s where 5G excels.

If recent studies are to be trusted, 5G connectivity could be ‘fundamental’ to Europe achieving future climate targets and such technology could create annual emissions savings of up to ‘170 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent’.

So, if you’re keen on tackling climate change, you might want to look into the reasons why other countries – in particular China – are already tapping into the powers of 5G and reaping the environmentally friendly benefits.

Carol McGrotty, head of transformation, VapourAbout the author

An experienced telecoms professional with 20 years’ experience in the tech sector, Carol is the head of transformation at disruptive cloud technology specialist, Vapour. A people-orientated, process-driven customer service specialist, Carol leads the organisation’s technical, field, and administrative teams, and assumes responsibility for all aspects of Vapour’s service delivery. Key to this position is her defining the operating model and capabilities required to run successful TechOps and business support functions, in an ever-changing technical climate.

Inspirational Woman: Carol McGrotty | Head of Transformation, Vapour

Carol McGrotty, head of transformation, Vapour

Carol McGrotty is head of transformation for cloud tech specialist firm, Vapour.

She was previously the business’s long-standing operations lead and has been with the organisation almost since its inception. Her promotion also marks her 20th year in the telecoms sector and she’s taking on all aspects of Vapour’s service delivery – from managing the technical, field and administrative teams to defining the operating model to run TechOps and business support functions.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’m Carol McGrotty and as head of transformation for disruptive cloud tech firm Vapour, I’m responsible for looking at the business at a higher level and piecing together all our departments to achieve true company growth.

The business is almost eight-years-old now and I’ve been here since just after its inception. I’m process-driven and people-orientated, so I’m passionate about making sure we keep playing to our strengths, exploring what we can do even better, and getting our culture and values right so we can drive forward collaboratively.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Definitely not! I originally wanted to be a midwife when I left school. Thankfully, I can look back and say things have really worked out for me and I’m proud of the role I play now.

I’ve spent 20 years in the telecoms tech sector and once I was learning the trade, I soon felt like I was contributing to something. In terms of Vapour, I could see its vision when I joined, and I wanted to make my mark and build an exciting career for myself with a progressive company.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

It’s probably more of a personal one, but I can be quite harsh on myself. For example, I can make ten decisions in a day, nine of which are successful but for that one that perhaps didn’t go quite according to plan, I’ll dwell on it. I have to tell myself that nobody has all the answers, and as long as my decision was considered and well-intended, I can learn from it.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Moving from operations manager to head of operations and compliance was a defining moment. It was a huge shift in mindset because I was responsible for an entire department. It also led to one of my biggest successes to date – completing a scale up programme, in association with Barclays Bank and Cambridge Judge Business School, alongside Vapour CEO Tim Mercer and sales manager, Alec Stephens.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Finding a role that’s not ‘just a job’ and instead something I can add value to. I’m a big advocate for taking on a role that feels ‘right’ and being part of a company that shares the same vision, and invests in its employees. Thankfully, that’s what I’ve got with Vapour.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Technology is forever changing so it’s important to be agile to stay ahead of the curve and provide customers with the support they need – which constantly evolves. Having a flexible approach when offering solutions is so important in this sector, alongside not being afraid to take on fresh challenges and being calm under pressure.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I do feel there are obstacles. Fortunately, I’ve never felt this but I’m well aware that females in our sector have experienced difficulties when it comes to breaking through. The numbers speak for themselves in terms of how many men are in technology compared to women, so this has to change.

When it comes to career guidance, are girls provided with the information they need to truly engage with the prospect of enjoying a career in tech? We have a responsibility to support this via jargon-free explanations as to what it means to work in digital, underline the vast benefits and really get across the impact that employees make.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Exploring apprenticeships or accelerator programmes could be great places to start for companies. We also offer job visits to try and spark interest in people progressing a career in technology.

It’s about providing ways to help attract a wider talent pool and that’s where culture comes into play. If an organisation is committed to building an environment that’s forward-thinking and inclusive, it’s more likely to get a greater level of diverse applicants when its next job vacancy comes around.

There is currently only 15 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Role models and strong influences that young girls and women can look up to are so vital. We’re seeing more females on boards and in director roles now which will definitely help. It needs to continue though, and we all have a part to play in this.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, e.g. podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

Well, of course WeAreTechWomen’s resources are fantastic! I’d also recommend Disruptive.Live for in-depth interviews and Technology Reseller is a really engaging publication. Let’s not forget the ‘Between the Eyes’ podcast either that’s hosted by Tim [Mercer]. He invites guests to talk on his show about everything from business development to wellbeing.

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