October 24, 2011, 11:43 AM — In the past 18 months, the IT group at KPMG has helped update and create new processes and workflows for the company's paper-, energy- and carbon-intensive systems.
These efforts included raising the ambient temperature in the data center to improve efficiency by more than 5%, raising the temperature of the water in the cooling tower to improve efficiency by 5% and migrating to blade server technology, with the average blade server consuming about 50% less power than a comparably configured rack-mounted server.
The New York-based audit, tax and advisory services firm is also in the midst of a data center transformation, incorporating an older, inefficient data center into its main facility. With this consolidation, KPMG anticipates saving about 15% in energy costs.
"At KPMG, the role of IT is to create new sources of value and improve the productivity of our business teams, using technologies that are powerful, flexible and efficient," says CIO Dick Anderson. "As we look to optimize our investments in IT, an important priority is our use of green technologies like server virtualization, and our energy-efficient data center heating and power systems to help optimize the efficiency of our solutions."
Toward that end, the firm is aggressively deploying virtual server technology. Its server farm is about 60% virtualized, which saves more than $1 million per year compared with a nonvirtualized environment. And with the IT department's leadership, KPMG is installing solar panels at its Montvale, N.J., campus, a project the company expects to complete this month.
Another IT-related effort is Green Travel Advisor, which was created in 2010 to encourage alternatives to travel. In its first year, the program achieved more than $2 million in travel cost savings, partly due to a 95% increase in the use of telepresence technology.
The green-IT efforts are part of KPMG's Living Green initiative, a program to encourage employees to adopt an environmentally responsible attitude at work, at home and in the community.
Having completed the initial three-year phase of its Living Green initiative, KPMG is working to set a new, aggressive five-year goal to reduce its overall carbon footprint. The firm will escalate existing and newly implemented programs, such as a move to cloud computing, green energy procurement, flexible work arrangements, server virtualization and the use of virtual communications technologies to reduce air travel.