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Driving the Green Software Framework with Accenture

By Mitchell Hageman
Mon 11 Jul 2022

It's clear that technology is a fundamental driver of sustainability, but in most cases, the solution itself needs to be monitored so that it doesn't become the problem.

By one estimate, the IT sector's share of the world's carbon footprint has expanded from 1.5% in 2007 to 4% today and is heading toward 14% by 2040. Technology can and does create sustainability issues, which in turn can lead to wider organisational and operational problems.

CIOs are a driving force in creating successful sustainable change. Accenture's groundbreaking new "Uniting technology and Sustainability" has highlighted seven priority areas of impact related to a Green Software Framework. This framework provides tools and knowledge to help organisations create better sustainable outcomes in all areas.

Having a green software development lifecycle

Adopting energy-efficient and green practices across the software development lifecycle is crucial. Cycles can often drain energy and create problems with workflow, and Accenture believes that changing to a green lifecycle can save energy, reduce emissions, and develop carbon-efficient software. This can span across platforms, programming languages, software architecture and DevOps spaces.

Green UI/UX for easier navigation

Creating user-friendly digital experiences with effective accessibility increases satisfaction and lowers screen time to add to efficiency. Accenture notes that by modifying UI to support dark mode, an app can reduce the UI carbon emissions by -60%, highlighting how evaluating screen processing power and compressing content and images can lead to successful outcomes.

Utilising green AI

AI is a common practice for many businesses today, helping streamline processes and take away complex legacy systems. Repurposing existing models for a task called transfer learning can further cut down energy and time and, in turn, emissions. Accenture says that with a responsible target accuracy, the carbon emissions of an enterprise's ML models can be reduced by -80%.

Green Cloud & data center builds

Partaking in data center to cloud migrations with the right energy efficient hosting decisions and green application development is another paramount decision to make. Companies should also further evaluate the implementation of edge computing, storing and using data near a device or end-user for better results.

Managing green data

Efficient data processing throughout the data lifecycle is essential for reducing dark data from the ecosystem and therefore reducing emissions. Dark data accounts for 70% -90% of all data, which highlights the importance of managing reduction. Businesses should continue to eliminate storage waste and data compression and focus on building efficient networks and data transmission.

Using distributed ledger technology

Using energy-efficient DLT algorithms and green blockchain design principles are crucial as well. Part of this process includes decisions on the number of nodes in the network, size of transaction data, compression strategy, data storage, computing and network infrastructure.

Implementing green infrastructure

Currently, only about 17% of e-waste collected is recycled. Most organisations also recycle less than 10% of their hardware, a hard driver for emissions and excess waste. Enterprises should take note of end-user devices, networking components and data center emissions associated with manufacturing and end-of-life. Promoting responsible procurement and end-of-life management is key.

Organisations need to put green software and sustainable practice at the heart of their transformation by rolling out company-wide initiatives and having consistent and clear communication. They need to consistently think net zero, embrace green software, build trustworthy systems, and incorporate privacy, fairness and transparency into their work. They also need to focus heavily on accessibility and implementation of the right governance mechanisms.

Taking a proactive and strategic approach to sustainability can help businesses thrive and achieve their goals, and Accenture can help at every step of the way by providing detailed and informative advice and solutions.

Contact Accenture today, and read the full report here.

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