Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

IT, Resource Productivity, Environmental Preservation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Energy barely out of the (information) Stone Age

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Information technology has enabled business processes to evolve through automate (computerize) and informate (make processes more visible and transparent) stages. Think supply chains, HR apps, personal productivity software, etc. Some have been completely transformed, such as via e-markets like eBay, foreign exchange trading systems that shift the basis of value from spreads to value-added services, and social networking systems like Linkedin.

Energy generation, distribution, and consumption has certainly been automated. But I’d claim that it has yet to be informated. Evidence? Ask any CEO/CIO/COO how much energy was consumed last year, as a percentage of revenue, profit, etc. What about a simple breakout by areas of the organization? There is little if any visibility. And leadership is a key issue: “It appears that few companies task officers with company-wide power management – especially companies with multiple offices and thousands of employees. By default, the responsibility falls to the CEO,” (Sumir Karayi, CEO of 1E). But with rising energy expenses, visibility and transparency will be demanded. Once we can measure it, we can manage it, which leads to transformation. What does that look like? More later.


Author: nigelpm

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - Helping organizations to navigate digital transformation.

One thought on “Energy barely out of the (information) Stone Age

  1. Pingback: Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement « Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

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