“My electricity bill is going through the roof, I need Green MDM!”
One popular new aspect we didn't cover in our book Enterprise Master Data Management: A SOA Approach to Managing Core Information. is the concept of Green computing.
According to a study by McKinsey & Co. entitled “Revolutionizing Data Center Efficiency Key Analyses”, data centers will surpass airlines as greenhouse gas polluters by 2020. That’s a nice attention getter and it might seem like a bit of a far reaching prediction. The problem with these statements is that they hardly ever get checked 12 years later. (I wonder if there is any comparative analysis on how good the predictions from the analyst firms are.) But regardless of the accurateness of this prophecy it is a fact that nationwide and worldwide power consumption by data centers is going up significantly, up to 16% year over year for a total estimated worldwide electric bill next year of $8.6B. This is supported by other studies. These numbers include the cost for powering the servers, but also for cooling, the lights, monitoring etc.
Higher energy cost is contributing to more interest in Green Computing technologies; these usually refer to the reduction of data center cost and energy consumption. Obviously Green Computing is not only good for the environment; there are also large potential cost savings for the business. A common area of interest is to look for technologies that reduce number of servers and the power requirements of individual servers.
Master Data Management (MDM) can help Green Computing in a number of ways. Some are directly related to the above mentioned energy cost, others are “green” in a different way.
MDM is aimed at providing accurate and trustworthy data regarding the most important business entities in the enterprise: customers, products, accounts, locations, etc. and to provide consistent use of those. For example it can provide a single, cleansed, version of customer data across the enterprise with appropriate access services. This single version can either be virtual, i.e. build on the fly from existing sources or actual, i.e. persisted and updated for every change in the sources.
Gartner defines several styles of MDM: Consolidation, Registry, Coexistence and Transaction. The Coexistence and Transaction styles offer the greenest potential. Consolidation and Registry could actually increase the required server footprint.
By reducing the number of repositories (copies) of master data in an organization there is an obvious opportunity to reduce the number of required servers. Reducing the amount of duplicate data via MDM data quality and data stewardship services means less redundant data is stored and used, which then leads to a reduction in energy requirements.
Deduplication and higher data quality through MDM can also lead to a reduction in cost and several “green” advantages:
- Better addresses leads to fewer duplicate and erroneous mailings and therefore a reduction in mailing cost. This also has the green advantage of reducing paper needs and reducing the energy consumption needed for transporting products and mail.
- Better contact information can reduce phone cost which has obvious business cost and energy savings. Keeping track of privacy preferences through MDM can lead to a higher hit ratio on the calls and therefore a reduction in energy needs of the call center.
- Better data can lead to better Business Intelligence (BI) and therefore to better business decisions. Some of these decisions can have green advantages such as e.g. keeping lower stock quantities and related energy savings.
In conclusion: Green MDM can be a win-win initiative, good for both the environment as well as the bottom line. Green MDM can go beyond the traditional Green computing area of saving IT resources and related energy consumption.
Enterprise Master Data Management
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