Green Tech Tools

Green IT isn't just about the datacenter -- solutions are now available to help you "green" everything from your product development to your distribution network.

As befits the information age we live in, enterprise software providers are introducing tools that not only help reduce emissions and waste but help put a number on those reductions so you'll have something concrete on which to base your corporate citizenship standing.

IBM Corp., for instance, is offering a suite of complementary products to fit the green bill, with multiple diagnostic and modeling tools and a carbon dashboard that can be used for trading on carbon markets. "What we've done is asked, What's the process that a company will go through to try to get its head around all these questions?' and then we've tried to come up with tools to suit each part of that process," explains Peter Williams, CTO of IBM's Big Green Innovations.

IBM's GreenSigma is the newest addition to a growing trend of supply chain optimization software products (such as those from Infor, RedPrairie, Optiant and others) that add carbon emissions to the constraint mix, enabling both quantifiable reductions in cost and quantifiable additions to green marketing platforms.

Enterprise asset management is another tool that delivers on both sides of this green cost/benefit ratio, and product lifecycle management can address crucial materials usage and end-of-use decisions. More targeted applications can help solve specific problems across many different manufacturing verticals, such as tools for ensuring RoHS compliance in process manufacturing.

There is also a growing sector based around the effective and efficient use of energy in IT departments called "green computing," consisting of everything from virtualization to e-invoicing. Like many of the offerings in this growing market, it sometimes seems as if "green" is whatever a company claims it to be, but if the end is improved operations, green means will no doubt continue to bloom.

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