European Foundation For Quality Management Information Technology Essay

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This report outlines the importance of the two chosen topics i.e. green IT and the European Foundation for Quality Management Model of Excellence. Both of them are based on six case studies as well as on some common practices in organisations. The benefits and limitations of green IT and EFQM will be described. Issues related to the professional and responsible approach towards computing will be highlighted. A reflection will also be provided based on the information available for the completion of this report. Possible issues that may arise in the future will be discussed.

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Green information technology

The use of IT in businesses contributes to the emission of Greenhouse gas such as carbon-dioxide (CO2). This is because the excessive and unnecessary use IT systems including laptops and PCs consume a lot of power. Also, the increase in the use of IT systems and gadgets has enhanced electronic wastes. It is time for organisations to adopt IT infrastructure and practices that are environmentally sustainable. This can be achieved by adopting Green IT. San Murugesan (2008) defined Green IT as the effective use and disposal of IT systems with minimal or no impact on the environment. Furthermore, information technology is at core of every successful modern business (Lamb 2009, p.1). However, the deployment of IT is businesses also brings with it some unintended consequences as it increases Carbon footprints of an organization through consumption of power and producing wastes (ibid). Hence there is a need for the organizations to adopt more environmentally sound IT practices that would help the organizations to lower their green house gas emissions. In this direction Greening of IT is inevitable for organizations

1.2 European Foundation for Quality Management

Major companies in the UK are facing increasing competition from overseas. Furthermore, more choices are available to customers that are looking for better quality goods and services at more competitive prices. Traditional approaches to management have become inadequate to keep up with changes (Bounds et al., 1994:5). The model has been successfully adapted and used in sectors such as banking and finance, education and consultancy in the pursuit of business excellence.

2.0 Green IT

Climate is the average weather experienced in a certain region for a long period time (DECC 2010). The climate of earth is not the same all the time and previously in history has been subjected to changes many times due to various natural causes (ibid). The assessment from Intergovernmental panel on climate change in 2007 has reported that the human activity has induced more warming of earth in the past 50 years (ibid). Human activities which result in the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) such as Carbon di oxide, methane and nitrous oxide is known to cause greenhouse effect which in turn warms the globe (ibid). The Stern Review report of UK suggests that doubling of of pre industry levels of GHG emissions is likely to increase the global mean temperature by 2-5°C (Stern Review 2008, Part I, p.2). The Stern Review estimates from the results obtained from formal economic models that if there is no action taken to combat climate change, then it would cost atleast 5% of global GDP eah year forever. If wider range of risks and its impacts are considered, then the damages would cost the world 20% of GDP or even more (Stern Review 2008, Summary of Conclusions). The review also suggests that the costs of stabilising the climate is manageable and recommends strong, deliberate action from the international community to stabilize the climate change (Stern Review 2008, Summary of Conclusions).

2.1 Advantages and Disadvantages of Green IT

Green IT can help in the following ways to combat the climate change:

1. As per the Forrester's Green IT online survey, the primary motivation for organizations to implement Green IT is the financial benefits the businesses gain by adopting green IT (Washburn 2009, p.2).

2. By implementing green IT, businesses can meet the consumers increasing green consciousness (O'Donnel and Hand 2009, p.4)

3. Green IT can help reduce the impact on environment, help mitigate risk, reduce the costs of operating, increase revenues and ultimately increase shareholder value (Washburn 2009, p.5).

4. Green IT can help the businesses to effectively reduce the IT operating expenses such as energy costs, data center cooling costs, hardware licencing fees and manay a times staffing costs as well. Green IT can help save Capital costs, by defering or eliminating capital investments by increasing asset utilization, extending useful life of assets, increasing data center capacity and efficiency (Washburn 2009, p.2-3)

The disadvantages of Green IT

1. According to research from the Corporate iT Forum, the initial hihger costs of implementing Green IT are driving the companies off from adopting Green IT (Cooter 2008).

2. There is a significant lack of internal expertise in organizations to implement green IT (Stenzel et al 2010, p.159-162)

3. The vendor relationships are complex and the vendors of Green IT are not yet matured for companies to safely procure Green IT products (ibid)

4. Many a times, the companies find it difficult to build a financially sound business case to justify the use of Green IT (Stenzel et al 2010, p.159)

2.2 Relevant Case Studies

Green IT Project Management Application (HOSTEDDATABASE.COM website, 2009)

This case study investigates the use of Project Management web application for managing a Green IT project that insures good environmental stewardship. To achieve this project, many on-going activities will be described and highlighted. Some vital statistics regarded the project include 16 sub-tasks, project duration of 16 months, a budget of $1,200,000 and 50 users. The company, boosting an average of $175 million revenue per annum, manufactures hardware products for businesses and consumers. The Board of Directors decided to implement an enterprise-wide Green IT initiative. (HOSTEDDATABASE.COM website, 2009)

The Green IT project comprises four primary components, i.e. revising existing processes and metrics, optimising efficiency of existing IT assets, revamping architecture and infrastructure, and positioning IT to enable green business practices. Each component must be further defragmenter into individual tasks to support the Green IT project. Some of the individual tasks include server virtualisation, CPU power throttling, and data centre cooling and airflow. (HOSTEDDATABASE.COM website, 2009)

By implementing the Green IT Management Application, the company will avoid software upgrades as well as resources related to them. It is anticipated that such a project will not only reduce the CO2 emission by 35% but will also boost the annual revenue to $250 million. (HOSTEDDATABASE.COM website, 2009)

2.3 Issues of Social Responsible Computing

Professional and responsible approaches towards computing which embody the legal, ethical and social aspects are critical for the global social, environmental and economic welfare. The misuse of Internet, non-compliance with copyright and Data Protection legislations may even lead to legal consequences (Ross, 2006). Another social issue is the unnecessary use of computers that contribute to an average loss of up to 400 kWh of electricity every year (Savvas, 2006).

The non-recyclability of computer systems also contributes to CO2 emission. GreenDisk, a recycle company, estimated that annually 1 billion CDs and DVDs are thrown in landfills. To reduce disposal problem, old computer systems can be donated to local organisations, refurbished, resold or used to train basic users of computers (Parsons and Oja, 2009).

2.4 Future of Green IT

The future of green IT will primarily depend on the financial support provided to business and consumers. The implementation of Green IT is also challenging as as companies or organizations face challenges of obtaining stakeholders support, existence of barriers for implementation and short term economic tradeoffs (IBM 2010, p.17). It is envisaged that more companies will be adopting solar cells and wind power to generate electricity to reduce CO2 emission and bills. Furthermore, companies will be focussing on software solutions to decrease the use of hardware devices to improve energy efficiency and reduce cost of hardware maintenance and disposal.

3.0 European Foundation for Quality Management

EFQM was founded in 1988 by 14 European companies to promote a methodological framework for evaluating quality improvement. The EFQM model for excellence (figure 1) is based on a concept that consists in evaluating quality according to nine key criteria including leadership, management of employees, policy and strategy, employee and client satisfaction(EFQM 2010, About EFQM).

These criteria are grouped into two categories, i.e. factors and results to enable a company to quantify the level of quality achieved, to compare with benchmarks as well as to compare performance with other companies.

3.1 Advantages and Disadvantages of EFQM

Following are the potential benefits for the organizations for adopting the excellence model:

The model provides a holistic framework which addresses a number of quality issues for an organization

The model helps to understand the organization's activities clearly. It is helpful for planning as it depicts the links between what an organizations does and what it achieves.

The model helps to instil a continuous improvement culture in an organization.

The organizations can use the model as internally driven self assessment tool and measure the organization's performance. (The New Economics Foundation 2010)

The potential disadvantages of EFQM are as follows:

The awards recogniztion scheme of EFQM may be costly for smaller business to adopt.

The EFQM accredition may not be recognizable to customers, service users, funders and other stakeholders.

The EFQM excellence model was was initially developed keeping in mind the commercial sector. The model may be difficult to interpret for not for profit organizations. (The New Economics Foundation 2010)

3.2 Relevant Case Studies

3.2.1 Basque (Northern Spain) Health Service (Sánchez et al., 2006)

Sánchez described the implementation of the EFQM Model of Excellence as a common framework for quality management in a regional health care service. The model has been introduced since 1995 and the design of quality mechanism and actions related to criteria of the EFQM model were accomplished via training. In 2006, four assessment cycles that included complete participations from all organisations. It was observed that scores for most of the criteria were improved, particularly in 'processes'. It is also observed that the overall patients' satisfaction was more than 89% in all settings, in most of the cases higher than 95%. An evaluation using the EFQM model resulted in ten organisations surpassed 400 points and 2 of them achieving 500 points. Based on the result, 83% of hospitals have even received ISO-certifications. (Sánchez et al., 2006)

3.2.2 Universities Case study

In the universities the main areas of their activities are formed based on profit. The measure of the research activities are assessed by the amount of funding that the research activities generate. The core activities of the higher education are: research, education and service. The EFQM Excellence Model can be used for assessment the quality of these activities. In an increasingly competitive market place, amidst limited funding opportunities, twenty-first century universities need to conduct their activities in a more business-like manner with the implementation of an EFQM Excellence Model as an appropriate quality assurance mechanism. The EFQM focuses on mission definition, leadership and the processes which are shared between the core activities of higher education. Conversely, the core activities of the universities are all intertwined and so the implementation of such policies and methods will guarantee the quality in all aspects of its activities. (Arjomandi et al 2009)

3.3 Issues of Social Responsible Computing

EFQM emphasizes Corporate social responsibility as a fundamental concept for achieving sustainable excellence for organizations and has developed a framework for Corporate Social responsibility (Avlonas and Swannick 2010, p.175-177). The EFQM framework for CSR is an integrated approach that has EFQM Excellence model as its core (ibid). The EFQM framework for CSR is divided into nine criteria that is classified into Enablers and Results as in the EFQM excellence model (ibid). EFQM identifies that identifying all the appropriate stakeholders and understanding their potential needs and expectations as key for organizations that aspire to be socially responsible. The EFQM CSR framework integrates CSR with stakeholder engagement in every activity and with the performance indicators of the organization (ibid). Organizations can also easily integrate the EFQM CSR into existing standards like ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 (Avlonas and Swannick 2010, p.175-177).

3.4 Potential Issues of EFQM

Recent studies have shown that more organisations are implementing the EFQM Model of Excellence to continuously improve quality in their organisations. The score and benchmarks available currently enable them to assess the workplace and generate action points for future improvements. However, EFQM is still unknown to many small and non-profit organisations. With the global expansion and economic crisis, it is imperative that companies work on the same wavelength. Hence, it is envisages that there will be more training opportunities that will increase awareness of the Model of Excellence. Furthermore, externally assessing bodies could adopt this Model and award certification to organisations based on set criteria.

4.0 Reflection on Relevance of the Contents of the Task and Unit

The unit is focussed on project management techniques in order to reduce risks and improve efficiency. Techniques, backed up with useful examples, to identify risks and potential loss of income are highlighted in the two PowerPoint presentations. Furthermore, an overview of the well-established PRINCE project management techniques is provided. The goals of PRINCE techniques are well elaborated and it is easy to compare PRINCE with the EFQM Model of Excellence. The purposes of both models are similar, i.e. to control and improve quality of services at different stages and to generate a quality improvement plan to implement action points. Hence hand-outs provided on PRINCE management techniques are relevant to this task.

Although there is no straight forward material provided for green IT, the outsourcing hand-outs give a clear indication of the investments in mainframe PCs by companies that are outsourcing their businesses overseas. Those volumes of investments have a major impact on the CO2 emission and hence it is envisaged that the implementation of green computing through more sophisticated software solutions and less hardware-based solutions. Furthermore, the Rapid Application Development (RAD) methodology, i.e. a software development methodology that uses minimal planning, is proven to be an effective approach to adopt green IT.

Hence it can be concluded that the presentations and hand-outs provided do not 'spoon feed' information for this task, they act more as brainstorming source of information for the two topics discussed in this report, i.e. green IT and EFQM Model of Excellence.

5.0 Conclusion

A report on the two chosen topic, i.e. green IT and the EFQM Model of Excellence is described. With environmental issues dominating daily headlines, it has become sine-qua-non that green computing should be adopted to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and electronic pollution. The use of renewable sources of energy such as solar and aeolian will contribute to a decrease in emission of harmful gases. Furthermore, raising awareness on more sensible use of IT including hibernating PCs that are not in use or recyclability of IT systems and gadgets is the way forward to promote green computing.

On the other hand, the application of EFQM Model of Excellence in medium to large organisations has been increasing over the past years. Although its implementation is quite costly in small and non-profit organisations, it is envisaged that the application of the model to pursue excellence and compete on the market has become unavoidable. It is also anticipated that in the future, external bodies will be evaluating, awarding, scoring and certifying organisation based on the model criteria.