I have often been asked by clients why they need to put a PC power management solution in like NightWatchman when standard operating system power policies are in place.

These questions usually emanate from non-IT resources such as facilities and sustainability professionals who have been told by their IT department that they either cannot shutdown machines or that they already have policies in place so NightWatchman can add no value.  This is understandable as usually the IT department has no KPI’s to reduce energy and their cost savings initiatives usually come out of reducing their own internal costs.

The question recently came up again, after a bit of a hiatus I might add, as most clients we deal with have already made the connection between a proper management system, detailed and accurate reporting and energy saving.  That is not to say that the question is not relevant, it clearly is.

The specific question I got was “What makes Night Watch Man different to the Windows 7 option where there is already switching off and hibernating options that can be incorporated into the company?”  This got me thinking around two things.  Firstly we have written a whitepaper on this topic (over 5 years ago which has now been updated) and secondly, how best to explain to a non-IT professional how NightWatchman adds value.

To answer the question I came up with a capability maturity model which has actually been well received and I think answers the question quite succinctly.  Power management adoption can really be divided into 4 main areas.  We loosely categorise these as follows:

Level 0 – The Laggards

There are no power policies or solutions implemented and reliance is placed on users configuring these themselves.  Usually this is through campaigns and communication/education.  Social engineering works to a degree but unless it is entrenched continually it fails.  There is no way to manage or report at this level.

Level 1 – The Chancers

Policies are configured centrally using Active Directory group policy and enforced on workstations.  This is generally a one size fits all scenario and does not engage the end users at all, often frustrating them to no end.  Group policy is inherently flawed and there is no guarantee that the policy is actually enforced and working (this is a legacy Microsoft issue).  You also have zero visibility on the success of the solution as well as the savings that are being achieved.

Level 2 – The Pretenders

Systems management tools are implemented to extend group policy functionality as well as provide basic wake up functionality and some rudimentary reporting.  It should be noted that Systems Management tools provide a plethora of other services so their power management functions are not extensive and their reporting is very basic.  These tools provide you with a basic PC Power Management solution but do not deal with the complexities that you find in large PC environments, hence they don’t cater for the exceptions very well.

Level 3 – The Achievers

A PC power management tool is implemented across the enterprise.  These tools often integrate with tools like SCCM (eg NightWatchman) but provide extended capabilities to ensure that you are maximising your savings.  Functionality includes enterprise ready wakeup, user centric shutdowns, document backup prior to shutdown, dealing with PC insomnia to maximise savings, forced shutdowns etc.  These solutions also come with extensive and accurate reporting. Essentially if you want to maximise your savings opportunities and report from both a business and sustainability perspective with reliable data you need a PC power management tool like NightWatchman that provides you with this information.

In a nutshell, if you are serious about management reporting, energy efficiency and sustainability you really should be investing in tooling like NightWatchman.  It boils down to the tried and trusted maxim, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”.  It is silly to do nothing as you are leaving avoided costs on the table and if you put in a solution that has inadequate reporting you are simply wasting your time.

To read a more in depth report on our view of power management, you can download our whitepaper here.

Author: Tim James

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