3 Steps to Transform the Enterprise Infrastructure for a Sustainable Future

In recent years, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives have transitioned from fluffy topics at the bottom of a business’s agenda to table stakes

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Published: February 14, 2024

Charlie Mitchell

Regulators have played their part. Most notably, the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSDR) regulations took effect in January 2023. These require large European-based enterprises to report greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks.

Meanwhile, other international governing bodies have made similar moves. For instance, California passed State Bills 253 and SB 261, regulating corporate emissions and financial risks related to climate change.

Yet, sustainability is not only a matter of compliance; there is a business and CX case as well.

As Gurpreet Kohli, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Telecom & Networks at HCLTech, notes:

“Proactive and ambitious ESG objectives are a vehicle to greater customer acquisition, cost optimization, and bottom-line improvement.”

Some organizations have taken this guidance and run with it. Consider Walmart. It has introduced its Gigaton Project, which sets science-based targets for lower greenhouse gas emission reductions, collaborating with suppliers to achieve their objectives.

Meanwhile, Dell has set a Net Zero Goal, which includes a pledge to use 75 percent renewable source electricity by 2030 and 100 percent by 2040.

Reaching such targets requires significant innovation, and many technologies a business may wish to leverage are still in development.

Indeed, cloud sustainability technology will take two to five years to reach a “plateau of productivity”, according to the 2023 Gartner Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing.

Nevertheless, there are stepping stones an enterprise can take to lay the foundations for rapid, systematic progress in meeting ESG plans. Here are three excellent examples.

1. Implement “Circular Economy Practices” In Data Centers

Kohli recommends that large enterprises consider “circular economy practices” to offset greenhouse gasses in their data centers. He says:

“Think of recycling and refurbishing practices that will extend the lifespan of IT assets and effectively minimize emissions.”

In noting this, Kohli also suggests infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders must consider more than lowering their company’s carbon footprint.

Effective resource utilization, water consumption, and e-waste management are additional pillars supporting a sustainable, consolidated data center.

Circular economy practices will aid in the reduction of e-waste generation. However, more innovation is necessary when it comes to water usage effectiveness (WUE).

Kohli proposes that transitioning to recycled or rainwater cooling systems can work well. Some immersive solutions may even deliver varying compute capacity levels to strategic locations.

2. Embrace Network Virtualization

Virtualization decouples various network resources – such as routers, switches, and links – from the underlying physical infrastructure.

In doing so, enterprises can reduce the number of physical devices necessary to run their network, optimizing resource utilization and enhancing energy efficiency.

Building on this point, Kohli says:

“Businesses can adjust the virtual network to meet application and user requirements, further minimizing energy consumption.”

Finally, the enterprise may build on this by embracing tactics such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV).

3. Switch to Private 5G-Enabled Networks

The 5G network is 90 percent more energy-efficient than the 4G and 3G networks, as per Nokia.

Yet, with the increasing availability of 5G, many enterprises desire more control over their networks, tailoring them for specific use cases across various verticals, like shipping and manufacturing.

Thankfully, private 5G-enabled networks are coming to the fore, offering businesses greater control of their infrastructure alongside greater coverage and capacity.

Kohli notes this new level of control complements sustainable infrastructure efforts. He states:

“Private 5G networks enabled by a neutral host provide a shared infrastructure that reduces the impact of hardware and chip shortages.”

The shared infrastructure allows enterprises, telecoms, and even local authorities to leverage the same resources, so the costs of creating and maintaining a network are collective.

HCLTech: Supporting Sustainable Infrastructures Worldwide

HCLTech supports its clients in assessing their ESG processes and practices. In doing so, it isolates opportunities to better deliver on sustainability goals, prioritize, and execute them.

Moreover, the prominent systems integrator (SI) offers a global network academy, consulting practice, and sandbox environment to help businesses follow the steps above.

In doing so, HCLTech ensures clients meet new and upcoming compliance requirements while assisting them in recognizing the business and CX case, too.

To learn more about HCLTech’s sustainability strategy and networks portfolio, visit: www.hcltech.com/sustainability

You can also meet the team at Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2024 and discuss a sustainable network strategy, learn more at: https://www.hcltech.com/events/mwc-barcelona

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