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In today’s environmentally conscious world, every business must make efforts to ensure that its impact on the earth is as minimally damaging as possible. From encouraging office-wide recycling to buying fluorescent bulbs to streamlining supply chains, there are big and small ways an organization can lessen its effects. And one of the biggest, at least to those of us in the tech world, may just be choosing a cloud deployment option for its ERP system rather than opting for on-premise hosting. Though nearly all successful ERP implementations have the environmentally sound result of reducing paper usage among users, there are a number of “green advantages” to cloud ERP software that traditional enterprise solutions do not offer. Top benefits include:

  • Reduced building size and overall infrastructure. Because cloud ERP solutions are hosted off-site, businesses do not have to maintain large server rooms in their own buildings. This minimizes the organization’s “footprint” both literally and figuratively.
  • Reduced power usage. Similar to the above point, organizations that deploy in the cloud use much less electricity on-site because they don’t have to cool and power their own servers. Although a similar amount of electricity may be being used at the site where the servers are housed, this impact is off the organization’s shoulders, so to speak.
  • PR opportunities. Lest we forget, nothing an organization does that helps amplify its “green profile” must go untrumpeted. Choosing an ERP system that also helps the business meet its sustainability goals can be promoted in a number of ways both internally and externally. This angle might even help some staff members achieve greater buy-in and should, if possible, be included in your organizational change management plan.

There’s no question that as competition in the ERP market grows, both traditional and cloud ERP vendors will pay more and more attention to not only implementing green policies themselves but helping clients reach their sustainability goals. SAP, for instance, cut its emissions by 15-percent in 2009 and is selling analytical ERP software to aid companies in monitoring usage and increasing efficiency. In fact, SAP estimated in 2011 that the market for “sustainability software” would reach $7 billion in the next five years. As this trend continues to mature, it will be interesting to watch how ERP vendors and ERP users react and respond. Stay tuned!