The ERP Big Picture

What does the old technology concept of enterprise resource planning (ERP) have to teach us about the new interest in green information technology? A lot. First, let me say thanks to SAP CEO Henning Kagermann who in a response to a question I asked him about green IT, got me thinking about the bigger definition of ERP.

The energy your company uses includes electricity, gas for all your road warriors and, especially in New England this time of year, heating fuel. Those are all resources for your enterprise, but you know what? There is very little resource planning being applied to those costly fuels.

Why shouldn't you time your power consumption to those periods when electric companies will give you a price break? Virtualized computing resources will let you move your computing horsepower around the country to match up with off price power. What about rolling up your gasoline costs and getting a break from one gas supplier. How about making it easier for your work force to work at home on those cold days and let them pay for heating costs rather than you heating that big office park building.

See what I mean? If you think about enterprise resource planning as a lot more than computing resources, inventory control and all those traditional items that go into the planning budget, you can not only enter the green computing age but you can be a star with your company's beancounters by saving your company some big bucks.