Data & Intelligence

Eliminating Dirty Data from your Sustainability Report

Today is the last day of the July-June fiscal year, which means many organizations, such as Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and Ford Motor Company, are winding down the period covered under their annual Sustainability Report.  There are many reasons that these organizations choose to release sustainability reports.  Many believe these reports lend an air of accountability and transparency that engages investors and consumers.  Others feel this annual report helps them drive process efficiencies that lead to tremendous cost savings.  After all, resources cost money.  When you use fewer resources you spend less money. 

While all of this is true, many don’t often realize that technology is a key contributor to sustainability efforts.  IT sustainability involves incorporating energy-efficient technologies and practices into everyday business tasks.  Business Intelligence can be a key contributor to a company’s sustainability efforts.  When it comes to sustainability reporting, business intelligence has two key functions:

Provides useful, trusted, and timely information for sustainability initiatives

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To make the right decisions for sustainability initiatives, executives need useful, trusted and timely information.  Business intelligence provides a holistic view of all company assets and can accurately track utilization rates and forecast resource requirements.  This allows for a reduction in resource usage through “rightsizing”.  Business Intelligence technology can also create and maintain scorecards and dashboards that monitor essential sustainability metrics across the organization.  Executives can then drill down into company data to uncover the source of a problem before it gets out of control.   By including green metrics, such as power consumption and carbon footprint, executives can track and tune their eco-performance.

Reduces waste by optimizing data

Many forget that technology can deliver the Triple Bottom Line of profit, human capital, and natural resources on its own merit.  By using Business Intelligence technologies, companies can reduce waste by optimizing data through “data deduplication”.  This is a data quality initiative that reduces the number of times a piece of information exists within the system.  Duplicate data can surface in the form of different spellings or versions of a single customer’s name, for example. 

Optimizing data across an organization not only reduces the overall size of the database  but also reduces the processing requirements (i.e., energy used to keep the system going) as a result.  Organizations also need to consider the cascade effect this efficiency has.  By operating your organization under a “single version of the truth” you do not run the risk of sending multiple mailers out to a single customer or ordering the same supplies from multiple vendors.

Overall, there are a myriad of wasteful practices that can be made more efficient with the use of business intelligence.  How about adding the elimination of dirty data to next year’s report?

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Melody Smith Jones

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