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Ron Powell

Thanks for visiting my blog. As co-founder of the BeyeNETWORK, acquired by TechTarget in 2010, I am privileged to participate in many industry-related activities as a BeyeNETWORK expert covering business intelligence and analytics. These events provide me with a unique insider perspective into the business intelligence ecosystem, its products and the vendors that provide those products. I'll be sharing that invaluable information with you through this blog, which will also be a reflection my business philosophy. And, just to make this interesting, I'll be sure to include my personal point of view on a wide range of topics and share some of the stories of people I meet in my travels.

About the author >

Ron is an independent analyst, consultant and editorial expert with extensive knowledge and experience in business intelligence, big data, analytics and data warehousing. Currently president of Powell Interactive Media, which specializes in consulting and podcast services, he is also Executive Producer of The World Transformed Fast Forward series. In 2004, Ron founded the BeyeNETWORK, which was acquired by Tech Target in 2010.  Prior to the founding of the BeyeNETWORK, Ron was cofounder, publisher and editorial director of DM Review (now Information Management). He maintains an expert channel and blog on the BeyeNETWORK and may be contacted by email at rpowell@powellinteractivemedia.com. 

More articles and Ron's blog can be found in his BeyeNETWORK expert channel.

You might wonder what the connection is between business intelligence and climate change. I had been reading the news about the recent UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen and noticed there was an associated exhibition showing how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can help in this global effort. Then I noticed that SAS was participating in this exhibition. After the conference, I had questions about the role of business intelligence in climate change initiatives, and Alyssa Farrell, SAS Marketing Manager for Sustainability Solutions graciously agreed to provide me with the answers. Here, in Q&A style, is what I learned:

Ron: At the recent Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all countries to formally sign on to the Copenhagen Accord to start tackling climate change and step up work toward a legally binding treaty in 2010. How was SAS involved in this conference?

Alyssa: SAS was one of only two IT vendors present at Bright Green, the largest business event held during COP15. Organized by the Confederation of Danish Industry and the U.S. Department of Commerce, it attracted 15,000 visitors over two days.  In parallel to Bright Green, SAS was also on the official COP15 conference program. Alongside Microsoft and Dell, SAS took part in the official "iSeeT" initiative - a joint UN and Techamerica Europe exhibition designed to inform COP15 delegates of the positive role played by the IT industry in mitigating greenhouse gases.  SAS Executive Vice President Mikael Hagstrom delivered a talk on the application of ICT to mitigating greenhouse gases on Monday, December 14th.

Ron: How can analytics-led business intelligence platforms assist in addressing the problems of climate change and global warming?

Alyssa: A holistic perspective is essential, providing a view of business processes in full context.  It is not just about measuring and reporting discrete environmental indicators - such as kilowatts of electricity and gallons of water - but about understanding how the metrics affect each other, uncovering cause-and-effect relationships that would not be immediately apparent, and predicting the environmental impact of business decisions. This is not the domain of spreadsheets, siloed organizational structures or isolated monitoring systems.  

Managing for sustainability requires a different kind of business intelligence framework and approach. We believe there are four cornerstones to this new analytics-led platform for environmental business intelligence:
  • A data framework that enables organizations to gather data about greenhouse gases and other sustainability metrics - and then allocate those values to different business processes, products or customers
  • A multidimensional model that evaluates the drivers of environmental impacts, the ROI of business decisions and the potential costs of action or inaction
  • Analytic strength to identify the most meaningful metrics and bring descriptive and predictive insights into sustainability management modeling
  • Web-based graphical scorecard and executive dashboards that surface performance information about key metrics, with drill-down into detail, all mapped to overall business strategy and made available to contributors across the organization
Ron: Specifically, what do you see as the role of SAS in addressing these pressing problems?

Alyssa: The role of SAS is two-fold:  (1) Understanding and improving our own internal operations; and (2) Providing our customers with technology that helps them achieve their business objectives with less emission and fewer natural and financial resources.

We recognize that environmental sustainability is a continuous effort that requires prudent use and preservation of our natural resources. Our offices around the world take steps to minimize our environmental impact by complying with, and often going above, a growing number of environmental regulations. Details on efforts can be found in the 2008 SAS Corporate Social Responsibility Report (PDF), which is based on the Global Reporting Initiative standard.

Our sustainability management technology is already hard at work for governments, utilities, universities, manufacturers, hotels and many others. SAS for Sustainability Management allows organizations to measure, reduce and optimize their performance on key sustainability indicators, then extend those capabilities out into their supply chain or across a portfolio of disparate businesses.

Posted December 23, 2009 8:33 AM
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