Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Masterclass on Climate Change with ITSM - Part 2

My draft "Green ITSM" talk will be used as a sample of work for a masterclass. on technical writing at ANU. So I need to write something. This is an adaptation of an existing talk on Green ICT:

Green ICT Strategies: Lowering Cost and Carbon Emissions with ICT
  1. 25% to 50% CO2 Reduction needed by 2020
  2. First global Green ICT Course
  3. Green ICT
  4. Business ICT Competencies
  5. Learning by Doing
  6. Students Teach Each Other
  7. Online References Used
  8. Some Green ICT Topics
  9. Dematerialisation: doing more with less
  10. More Information
To this I need to add new material on IT Service Management and ITIL. The first question is if anyone else has written on Green ITI or green ITSM. A web search for "Green ITIL" found only 42 entries. The first is a lengthy blog post "The New Color of ITIL: Green" By Denise P. Kalm and Marv Waschke in Mainframe Executive, March 12, 2009. This follows the same approach I was intending: explain where green can be fitted into ITIL's existing approach. The next is "Green ITIL" from the British Computer Society, March 2009. This takes a slightly different approach, saying even the latest ITIL (Version 3), does not include measures of environmental impact in IT service delivery. However, while the article goes on to claim this could be done, it does not detail how.

The next article of interest is a white paper "Green ITIL" from Capgemini (8 December 2008). Capgemini provide a far more detailed proposal of how ITIL can incorporate sustainability. They start with the concept of "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR), which I accidentally attended a conference about in Malaysia. Capgemini argue that CSR is the link from Corporate Governance to the IT Functiopn of an organisation. Within IT, there is IT social responsibility (which is not a term I am familiar with) then linking to, at the lower level, to Service Management Policy, which where ITIL comes into play. This provides an excellent way to link green ICT into wider corporate social policies, where such policies exist. It also provides a context for incorporating green ICT into ITIL and then being able to make decisions on IT resource allocation including sustainability issues.

However, Capgemini's approach assumes that green issues will fit withing ITIL's existing framework of services: IT Services, Application services, Infrastructure services, Network Services, Data Services and Security Services. It then firther assumes that ITIL's categorisation of Processes, Methods, Functions, Roles and Activities apply. Lastly it assumes that sustainability measures can be captured in the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for monitoring the IT service management, so that this can then be used with techniques such as Balanced Scorecard and, at a higher level, Corporate Balanced Scorecard.

Capgemini argue that measures such as "Carbon Score" can be used to include CO2e in a balanced scorecard approach. While this seems rerasonable for major new acitvities such as new equipment purchase, software development or service acquistion, by extending it to consideration of environmental impact of in Requests for Change (RFCs), Capgemini may have extended Green ITIL a step too far. It is unlikely to be useful to consider the envrionmental impact of every small change to a system.

Capgemini are on firmer ground with their example of an organisation deciding if an IT servcie should be provided 24/7. While customers would like service continuously, in reality most servcies are only heavily used during officie hours on weekdays. There is a high envrionmental cost in running these services after hours and on weekends. However, this analysis appears to be falwed. It would suggest that the logiocal conclusion would be to shuit down the computer system after hours. There would be few indsutries which such a proposal could be justified on envrionmental or other grounds. The real world solution would be to design the system to reduce capacity to match demand, thus reducing energy use automatically after hours and on weekends when demand is low.

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