After being involved in very successful energy savings projects for our clients over the past 8 years, we share our top tips that you should be aware of if you are thinking about deploying PC power management software within your environment.
- User perceptions have changed – although there are still a small percentage of users that fight against having their devices managed, the majority welcome energy savings solutions. We are in an energy crisis and end users realise that we all need to do whatever we can to save energy. Many solutions are also user centric and ensure that the end user is never impacted, they continue operating the same way they always have.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again – many of our clients have tried solutions in the past, typically GPO (see below), and these have failed. Technology has moved on significantly in the past 5 years in this space and deploying the right solution with the right feature set will yield significant success. Don’t be tainted by past failures, revisit opportunities, particularly around energy efficiency.
- Save, Save, Save – PC power management software saves you lots of money. With average corporate energy rates hovering around R1.25 per kWh in South Africa at the moment, you can expect to save on average around R200 per pc per year. These numbers add up over 1000’s of devices.
- Immediate benefits – PC power management solutions can be deployed in a matter of days using systems management tooling. Unlike many other energy savings initiatives eg. lighting retrofits that are lengthy and require physical deployment, being a software solution ensures agility and rapid time to benefit.
- Improved patching and deployment – whilst many may believe that powering off devices impacts the IT department’s ‘lights out’ operational capabilities, with the right solution the reverse is in fact true. A solution that provides you with wake-on-lan capabilities will ensure that devices are in the right state for your after-hours activities and the right solution will not require any network changes for wake-on-lan to succeed.
- GPO and free solutions are not good enough – there is no ‘free lunch’ and the same can be said for PC power management solutions. Free solutions do not provide the reporting required ensuring that you are getting the most out of the solution. If you cannot measure, you cannot manage and hence these solutions typically fail or fall short of expectations.
- The devil is in the detail – whatever solution you deploy, ensure that the reporting is accurate and relevant. It is pointless deploying a solution and reporting savings that are not accurate and hence not real. Always make sure that the solution can report down to machine make and model and can provide accurate baselining capabilities prior to deploying any policies. If you report a savings benefit to the business, make sure that it is a real saving.
- One size does not fit all – the solution that you deploy must have the ability to deal with multiple policies across multiple business units. More specifically you must be able to deal with exceptions. They are always there and you need to be aware of them.
- Health and happiness – there is no doubt that regularly power cycling your PC’s results in a healthier operating system. Applying policies that include a regular reboot ensures that patches get deployed and security compliance is maintained. This is particularly relevant in South Africa around POPI compliance.
- Start at the top – executive support is critical to ensure a successful project. With energy rates the way they are at the moment, ensuring executive support may be a lot easier than you think and will definitely result in a successful deployment.
Author: Tim James. Director, sustainableIT