Microsoft taps wind energy for data center support
Microsoft is in the business of technology, and that tech is not exclusive to software—the business has a hand directly in several sectors, and has helped to promote the growth and expansion of others indirectly. One of those indirect growth stories involves the wind power industry. Over the past two years, Microsoft has played a key role in the growth of wind power with its contracting of two major off-site wind projects to supply energy to Microsoft’s power-hungry and ever-growing data centers.
RELATED CONTENT: U.S. wind energy prices are at an all-time low
Microsoft’s commitment to wind power has grown organically out of investment in the company’s own growth. As green energy publication Clean Technica reports, Microsoft’s recognition of the potential of its cloud-computing has driven the company’s data center team to look for more sustainable and reliable power sources:
The data center energy team recognized that as Microsoft developed its cloud-computing infrastructure, the construction of large data centers committed the company to purchasing large quantities of electricity to power these assets over their operating lifetimes. In fact, while building a data center can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, it can cost up twice that to power the building over its lifetime.
With Microsoft’s sustainability team leading a charge that led to an adoption of carbon neutral goals in 2012, the company has turned increasingly to wind power for the energy needed to run its data centers. Over the past two years, Microsoft has contracted 285 mW of renewable energy—enough to keep 125,000 homes in electricity—from powerful off-site wind farms.
According to Clean Technica, Microsoft was also able to close deals on these projects in record time due to a combination of factors: a dedicated team with energy industry experience assigned specifically to make these renewable energy contracts happen, the external assistance of knowledgeable partners outside the Microsoft team, and full support from Microsoft’s executive teams across the board from legal to accounting.
With its sheer size and reach, if any business has the power to make this energy growth happen it’s Microsoft. But even smaller businesses can take some important lessons away from this case study: renewable energy is ready to support industry, and with the right support and education throughout your company renewable energy can be supplied more swiftly than ever. What’s more, an upfront investment in renewable infrastructure can go a long way toward supporting your business with reduced costs and reliable energy in the future. Microsoft may be one of the first, but a more mainstream adoption could propel the renewable industry even further.
[SOURCE: Clean Technica]
Click here to read the latest edition of Business Review USA!
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.