Monday, March 16, 2009

Effecting Change Now: Stimulating Your Organization with Green Technology

At my home, our energy bill has risen 75% this year and Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) says it will be raising rates another 50% by summer. There's a lot of politics surrounding these outrageous increases that I'll save for some juicy Op-Ed pieces. Suffice it to say, I HATE giving the electric company any more money than I have to. So we've begun a campaign of unplugging everything that is not in use. Our TV, our computers, our microwave, etc. It got me thinking, what are nonprofits to do as energy rates soar? How can nonprofits that have "green" policies go beyond simply recycling paper or using nontoxic toners?

Lisa Voldeng writes an inspiring article on how nonprofits can realize their green dreams. By way of introduction, Lisa was voted one of the the "Top 25 Women in Technology" by ZDnet and one of the "Top 10 Media Thinkers of the 21st Century" by Nikkei Electronics. Lisa Voldeng is an industry analyst and CEO of Sugarlab Corp. Bunnie

Effecting Change Now: Stimulating Your Organization with Green
Technology

By Lisa Voldeng

There is no obstacle that can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change. In the week of President Obama's inauguration, his words a noble call to us all to rise to meet the best in ourselves, many of us are wondering, but how do I tangibly effect change in my own life? Or in my own organization?

President Obama built his campaign on the promise of economic stimulus and aggressive support for green technologies. Recently, he selected alternative energy supporter and Nobel-prize winning physicist Steven Chu to head the Department of Energy. He's loading his guns and locking his economic stimulus package. He's poised to begin executing his gleaming mission. Are we ready to execute ours?

The realities of the current economy are daunting. We have organizational goals to meet, and smaller budgets with which to meet them. Nonprofits and businesses are closing. People are losing jobs and homes. And amidst all this, our planet is increasingly evidencing the specter of radical climate change. The need for change is breathing hot in our faces, yet the challenges we face seem insurmountable.

As Confucius said, A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If so, then what tangible solutions are available, that can help us directly impact change in our organizations now? Help us effectively meet our goals while lowering our costs, and reducing our environmental impact?

The functional area where organizations can most effectively and immediately cut costs and positively impact environmental change, is IT. For example, using powerful, low-cost desktop virtualization tools, you can reduce your IT maintenance and support costs by up to 80% - while also reducing electricity usage and electronic waste by up to 90%.

Desktop virtualization technologies leverage the unused computing power of a single computer, creating an efficient alternative to traditional desktop-per-user computing. I've evaluated many companies hawking products in this space of late, and the one I've been most impressed with, is Userful (http://www.userful.com/). Putting it plainly, Userful doesn't talk. They just walk. In an age where rampant over-rhetoric still rules the virtualization marketplace, those who let their demonstrated commitment to serving their customers and impacting organizational change speak for itself - speak the loudest of all.

Userful's PC sharing and virtualization technology turns one computer into 10; allowing up to 10 users to work on a single computer by simply attaching extra monitors, mice and keyboards. It delivers full PC performance including full-screen streaming video for a fraction of the cost of using a PC-per-user solution. Userful also enables users to manage and monitor their desktops through a central administrative web site, allowing them to control their desktops from a simple web-browser, and generating significant savings in administrative tools.

Because of the radical reduction in electricity and electronic waste (up to 90%), Userful's solutions are immediately eco-friendly. For example, a recent deployment in South Africa - which delivered 2,205 virtualized desktops to 105 South African schools using only 315 computers - saves the equivalent of over 4000 tonnes of CO2 emissions; the equivalent of taking 700 cars off the road. And with over 30,000 desktops successfully deployed in nonprofits, governments, schools, libraries, businesses and military in over 100 countries, Userful's virtualization tools are a proven market leader.

Perhaps change begins with a simple intention. And renewal begins when a simple intention becomes a single step, multiplied. With Obama's call to us all to be the change we wish to see - and his strong commitment to stimulating the economy and supporting green technologies - companies like Userful are well-prepared to help organizations who also embrace the call to change, to lead the way.

Contact Lisa at http://www.sugar-lab.com/

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