By eweek  |  Posted 2007-07-05 Print this article Print

You had mentioned green IT earlier, and I know that Wachovia has recently announced that it is building several new branches on the West Coast that have been designed from the ground up as green. What does it mean for a CIO to drive a green IT initiative? With any of these programs that are not specifically tied to a line-of-business deliverable but are more part of a strategy that we drive, it means changing the way that we think about the things we do or how were going to approach the solutions we provide—understanding the impact of our operations on the environment.
On a day-to-day basis, that means understanding that one of our huge initiatives is becoming a very global company, and we will have an impact across the globe. And, so, what does that mean to be environmentally conscious as one of the top four banks in the United States and one of the major corporations on a global basis? For every solution that we put forth, both from an application perspective and an infrastructure perspective, what are the decisions we should be making around those solutions? What is the hardware we should be purchasing? How should we be setting up our data centers? What tools should we be using? Which vendors should we be partnered with that are also environmentally conscious? And how should we be forming those relationships? Wachovia is very, very focused on customer service, on core values in terms of branding and community involvement, so it means making all the right decisions on all of those aspects to say, Were not only a company in the financial services industry, but we have an impact on the communities in which were involved.
Has that kind of thinking gained steam in the last year or so, as green IT is being put forth more and more by vendors? Ill speak more for my organization than broadly: Its been going on much more than just recently overall, but, for my organization, theres been an awareness of it thats grown over the past two or three years. I would say that awareness has most recently become more heightened to action. We are still fairly new at it—it is still something that has not infiltrated every single aspect of what we do. We are still learning about what we need to do to incorporate this in our day-to-day decision making. I do think it has been part of the thinking for a while; people are just starting to learn how they can take action on it. What are some of the things you have put into action at this point? Wachovia is involved in many different associations. Its a founding member of the Environmental Bankers Association; it participates in the environmental roundtable of the Risk Management Association; its one of the founders of the Forums for Corporate Conscience. So, on one level, we are very much involved in different forums. We also are expanding to the West Coast, and some of the first branches that we have been building there have been green branches. And weve been thinking about those branches energy consumption, how theyre set up in terms of that, the recycling that takes place there. Were also designing and building a new office tower in Charlotte, and we are very much doing that in accordance with the Leadership in Energy in Environmental Design and Certification Standards. As we put that together, were looking at whether there are renewable energy sources, whether there are alternative energy sources that we can look at. Were looking at high-efficiency lighting and HVAC [heating, ventilation, air conditioning and cooling] so were replacing older types of systems. HVAC hasnt traditionally been part of the IT budget. Right, it has traditionally been part of corporate real estate and how they set up certain environments. But weve implemented a change in our procurement process that requires an analysis of a devices total cost of ownership, rather than just the upfront capital costs. I think youll see over the next year or so also that well actually start to try and measure some of our energy cosumption and CO2 emissions. But metrics become difficult—determining what you should be measuring and how you can capture that data, and what that data is telling you. Have you worked out what some of those metrics will be? The corporation may have started working out some of those metrics, but that is not widespread at this time in terms of capturing or publishing. I know theyre in the process of putting those things together, but thats something that well be seeing in the near term. On a technology level, given the platform were building and the types of technologies were looking at, weve been able, for our SOA infrastructure and our utility, to take our concepts of virtualization, of efficiency and self-cooling, of resource optimization, thin clients, reduced heat emissions, things of those concepts, and actually look at vendors who provide those green attributes. So, when youre evaluating vendors, one of the criteria is their ability to help you meet your green IT goals? Yes, I would say thats absolutely one of the criteria. Are you looking to expand the green IT mind-set, even to the user at some point? It has to be done in tandem with the efforts we have planned and the initiatives we have planned. Its going to always be a component in determing these solutions. I do see that it effectively becomes part of every single aspect of our environment—all the way from infrastructure to eventually what would be on a client desktop. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management.


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