Supply chain disruption 'is heralding greener use of tech'

By Ian Shearer
Ian Shearer of data centre and networking optimisation firm Park Place Technologies on why challenging times present a unique opportunities for technology

Despite the tech sector approaching crisis-level challenges, tech businesses rarely talk about this with the transparency needed to tackle the issue head on.

But with every crisis comes opportunity, and as we pivot we must do so together – and for the greater good. We are being gifted the chance to collaborate across the sector, strengthening the industry as a whole as well as our own organisations. A major part of the solution is seizing the moment to implement more-sustainable IT cycles. But first, we have to talk about it.

The future depends on technology

As we build smarter businesses, cities and transport that respond to the evolving digital needs of citizens, in a period of volatility, the demand for tech resources is going through the roof. That trend isn’t going to change direction.

As the entrepreneur and futurologist, Peter Diamandis says, in the next decade we’ll experience more progress than in the past 100 years combined, as technology reshapes health and materials science, energy and various other industries and domains. While this advancement should make us feel optimistic, it does raise concerns. There is a lot riding on the industry’s ability to deliver.

At the start of 2021, many supply networks were struggling, and today we know that these supply chains continue to be exacerbated by a range of issues, from geopolitical crises, to resources and bottlenecks. Fundamentally, supply chains cannot keep up with backlogs, hindering the pace of digital transformation and sending many tech businesses into crisis mode. Across the board, we’re seeing tech companies furiously pivoting and questioning how they can prepare for the next wave of unknowns. 

The crux of tech’s supply chain crisis

As tech companies look at how they can address current and future disruption, more firms are being forced to shift their approach and pay increased attention to their data centre maintenance and IT cycles. 

As a result of this, at Park Place Technologies we are seeing an unprecedented increase in enquiries from customers seeking the benefits of pre-owned hardware. And as the supply of even pre-owned parts shortens, more customers want managed services and automation to sustain their operations. 

As supply chain disruption intensifies, we are seeing customers cancelling new orders and switching to pre-owned hardware. 

Others have moved parts of their services to the public cloud and are using discovery and migration services while some organisations are extending hardware lifecycles with the adoption of post-warranty and End of Service Life support services. However, automating maintenance and management of hardware services is what we’ve seen skyrocket during this period. 

The demand for pre-owned parts and extensions to the lifecycle of existing hardware infrastructure is pushing us towards more sustainable IT cycles. 

It’s no secret that there are concerns over data centres energy use and associated impacts on climate change. The industry is often characterised as energy hungry but reducing energy demand is only aspect of addressing the industry’s carbon footprint. 

We must look at all stages of the data centre lifecycle, including raw material extraction, equipment manufacturing, data centre construction, end of life of equipment and data centre buildings. 

As technology firms all face the supply chain crisis together and share the same goal of creating a more sustainable industry, we are provided with another opportunity – this time to collaborate with one another and share knowledge while we graft through the crisis. 

Doing things differently 

To do this, we must move away from traditional IT cycle approaches. Instead of offering customers the latest IT systems, providers should advise on what is truly needed and what the most sustainable options are. 

However, creating this change in a volatile era is not easy, as customers will undoubtedly default to what they have known to always work. That’s why greater openness among the tech community and collaboration is needed now more than ever before.

By working as a collective, we can help influence the adoption of more sustainable IT operations for all. 

Ian Shearer is MD APAC & EMEA, Park Place Technologies, a global data centre and networking optimisation firm.

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