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The UK Software Industry Sets The Standards for a Green Business EconomyT he IT industry is in the midst of a revolution. The rapid uptake of computers, mobile phones and the Internet in the emerging world is set to double the industry's CO2 emissions by 2020 (according to McKinsey 2008). At the same time, smart technologies that enable better use of energy could help reduce global CO2 emissions by as much as 15 per cent by 2020.At the heart of this revolution are business software providers who offer applications that enable organisations to manage their environmental impact more effectively. As the global economy remains in turmoil, organisations must continue to strive for greater efficiencies and cost savings. Today's critical business imperative is to maintain strong business performance with the ethical and economic drive to fulfil an organisation's green agenda.SOFTWARE IS THE GREEN ECONOMY'S GREATEST ENABLERSoftware applications are essential in enabling the effective management and reporting on sustainable key performance indicators (KPIs), such as carbon emissions. Without the right software solutions, businesses cannot be expected to measure and meet carbon reduction targets and other green objectives.Packaged business software, such as accounting, purchasing and ERP solutions, can deliver considerable savings over bespoke solutions. Even greater efficiencies can be achieved when an organisation's varied systems can be seamlessly " Without the right software solutions, businesses cannot be expected to measure and meet carbon reduction targets and other green objectives."Kevin Hart, Chairman, Business Application Software Developers Association (BASDA), and Strategic Alliances Manager, Sage UK & IrelandTony Bray, Council Member, BASDA, and Managing Director, Intuitive Business Intelligenceintegrated, allowing performance data to be easily accessed and analysed. Business intelligence dashboard software can totally eliminate the need for paper-based management reports, by consolidating disparate data sources into a single, relevant view. Senior managers gain instant access to their KPIs, presented in a graphical format that enables business operations and resources to be managed more effectively. Dashboard usage supports core business functions including finance, sales and marketing, but can also be used to monitor green metrics such as energy production and utilisation, PC and printer usage, carbon footprint and recycling targets.As organisations continue to make significant cuts to their budgets, even modest savings can directly relate to the retention of key resources, including frontline staff. So how is the software industry helping global organisations meet their green agenda and improve organisational performance during the economic downturn?A COMMON PLATFORM FOR GREEN ECONOMYApplication software is inherent in most businesses, allowing every aspect of day-to-day operations to run smoothly. Software packages already exist to provide organisations with the vital intelligence needed to gauge their environmental impact, such as carbon accounting software and automation technologies. The UK-based trade organisation, BASDA, has taken one step further. It recently launched Utilities XML and Green XML, two data-exchange standards 106 innovation technology

" basda recently launched Utilities XML and Green XML, two data-exchange standards that help organisations to collect, exchange and report on environmental factors "Pictured: Kevin Hart and Tony Braythat help organisations to collect, exchange and report on environmental factors. These standards usher in a new era, by providing a practical means of reporting on carbon spend and placing sustainability in the spotlight as a desirable and achievable practice. Where the carbon economy may have once languished under the misguided reputation of being somewhat esoteric and incalculable, it now is firmly positioned as a real, practical, quantifiable existence. BEING GREEN IS COST-EFFECTIVE AND EASYGreen XML took over two years to develop, during which time BASDA created an Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool with the University of Reading and Goldsmiths University of London. The AI engine is set to revolutionise carbon counting, as it can quickly, accurately and cost-effectively calculate the carbon component of any item. This means that organisations can quantify all of their carbon expenditure, not just costs attributed to energy usage and other easily identifiable carbon culprits, but also right down to the manufacture of individual items within the supply chain. This degree of analysis has given rise to deeper investigations into an organisation's purchasing and procurement processes, revealing the wider cost savings achievable in conjunction with carbon savings. REDUCING ENERGY COSTS AND MORE BESIDESBASDA's Green XML enables organisations to extend their green agenda beyond energy consumption and into other aspects that it may wish to measure to meet its Corporate and Social Responsibility policy. This technology provides a clear picture of the carbon footprint to be built from the bottom up, whilst also highlighting savings. A simple example is in printing and paper usage. The first phase would be lower cost printing, achieved by using longer-life print cartridges and more efficient printers, resulting in reductions in cost and carbon footprint. The second phase is paperless systems, making business processes more efficient. In this case, the savings can be as much as 10 -100 times more than the cost of the paper saved. Using BASDA Utilities XML, an organisation can now fully automate the capture of its energy expenditure across all its sites. This represents a significant development because the analysis and subsequent reduction of energy expenditure can bring the single most significant cost and carbon savings to an organisation.CONCLUSIONThe software industry is committed to developing enabling technologies and standards which will support organisations as they transition to a low-carbon economy. Achieving sustainable business operations is now a realistic goal but the economic downturn continues to place businesses under a significant pressure. BASDA is leading the software industry into an new era of green-enabled technology, by providing data exchange standards that enable organisations across the globe to be instantly more effective at meeting their green objectives, offering far-reaching benefits to the global business community and beyond. nABOUT THE AUTHORSKevin Hart is Strategic Alliances Manager at Sage UK & Ireland and has been the Chairman of BASDA since 2006. His experience spans commercial and technical arenas, with over 30 years in the business management solutions, payments, technology and travel sectors, where he established and developed strategic relationships, along with managing a number of products and services. Since taking the helm at BASDA, Mr Hart has restructured the business and increased its focus on member value delivery and supporting infrastructure, in response to changing membership needs and the wider commercial and regulatory market.Tony Bray is Managing Director of Intuitive Business Intelligence Ltd and is also a council member of BASDA. He has held senior management positions in the software industry for over 30 years and has extensive experience in business strategy and business intelligence consulting. His most recent company was award-winning document management and imaging software author, Version One Ltd and after a successful exit in 2007, he co-founded Intuitive Business Intelligence in 2010. Intuitive Business Intelligence is a technology innovator in the field of Business Intelligence (BI) software. Its flagship product, Intuitive Dashboards, enables public, private and third sector organisations make faster, more accurate decisions based on the wide-ranging data sources and systems that already exist within their business. innovation technology 107