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Embracing the cloud and UFB for sustainability

06 Nov 2014

Ricoh’s Roly Smoldon offers a personal perspective of how the cloud and UFB are two sustainability enablers.

Being nimble is one of the biggest green benefits of IT. Over the years information technology has evolved so much so that businesses are now able to be more flexible than ever.

This was highlighted to me last December when my team and I were faced with a critical decision: to keep up with growing demand we had to either invest approximately $50,000 in building new server infrastructure or move to the cloud.

We chose the latter and, in doing so, not only saved money and resources but also time, given the capital outlay also came with a 10-12 week delivery timeframe plus additional time to configure and build.

Like many other IT providers, using the cloud has aligned our cost with our revenue and it’s given us much more flexibility.

Under the old server model, if a customer’s needs changed or they moved on, we faced being left with capacity no one wanted; the age-old issue of obsolete technology. Now, with our cloud partner, Amazon Web Services (AWS), if a customer’s needs change we simply turn on or off the extra capacity.

I truly believe that we can only be a digital economy if we fully embrace the cloud. My team is living this mantra for our customers and is an AWS consulting partner, one of a handful in New Zealand at present.

In my view, limits such as an internet data cap and requiring data to be hosted in New Zealand are counterproductive to ranking equally on the world stage. The cloud is the green future of IT and it brings with it efficiencies and a ‘Jack be nimble’ approach - companies can now focus on their business rather than their IT infrastructure.

But flexibility isn’t the cloud’s only sustainable advantage.

More concrete ‘green’ benefits of the cloud can be seen in an example from our operation in Europe. Ricoh removed more than 1000 servers across its EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region by moving to a secure private cloud, which resulted in a reduction of 16,800 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent emissions from 3350 cars.

Another critical green aspect of IT is ultra-fast broadband (UFB).

In my opinion, UFB is the single biggest enabler to growth. It gives businesses the ability to truly transform the way they operate.

If you want to run Xero or Office 365, for example, you need a quality internet connection. However, if you’re constantly running up against a data cap, youwon’t get the full benefits of these internet-based programmes.

The internet has created smarter and greener ways of doing business and with the flexibility of the cloud and the ‘grunt’ of UFB, we can embrace them in their entirety.

Roly Smoldon is the general manager of Ricoh’s IT Services division, which was formed to provide certainty around IT costs for clients and increase their operating efficiencies.  

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