The no-brainer road towards Net-Zero every Local Authority should know

One of the most common phrases that I hear since I began work at Crown Hosting, is ‘Surely that’s a no brainer, isn’t it?’

On the one hand, it serves as healthy confirmation that we’re making a profound difference to the Public Sector, on the other, it’s a huge concern that hundreds of Local Authorities are worryingly unaware of the opportunities available to them.

It hit home with me in no small way when I attended the Footprint+ Event for the UK Built Environment Industry last month, where I met plenty of Local Authorities, who hadn’t made the connection between what a data centre ordinarily represents and in turn, how it could help them make considerable steps towards net-zero – Let alone the huge cost savings it produces while freeing up real-estate that could be better used for Public facing services.

The truth is we need to take some accountability here – we must do a much better job of educating the Public Sector about the impact we can have, where and how.

We know for example that sustainability is a key imperative – many Local Authorities have declared a climate emergency and begun reassessing impact, services and regional plans but (as became clear at Footprint+), very few know that a 99% carbon reduction saving already sits right before their eyes in their civic offices.

The lesser-known link between data centres and real-estate

I believe the issue lies in the understanding and perceptions of what data centres represent in the Public Sector. Somewhere along the line, they gained a reputation for being expensive, which is the polar opposite of reality under the Crown Hosting framework where we have achieved commoditisation and in an ironic twist, Local Authorities find themselves in rare territory as the perfect beneficiary.

As a consequence of this historic perception, many organisations I’ve spoken with haven’t made the link that by removing data rooms from their buildings, the instant by-product frees up valuable real estate which can be used for public services – and that’s really powerful – What would it mean for example if town halls could be restored and reconfigured to unlock their potential to deliver social value and revenue for the council

The reality is a lot of organisations haven’t questioned if they really need a data room in their civic site – and this is where education in the short-term is critical if we’re going to help the Public Sector on its journey to the cloud and in turn net-zero.

We already know for example that a great number of Local Authorities are moving Civic sites following the pandemic to save money and to adjust to new working models – so there is arguably no better time than to ask if that data room is really needed.

Cloud appropriate versus Cloud first

Which leads us onto another question where I invariably hear the words ‘no-brainer’ uttered.

If the entire Public Sector is on route to Cloud, then no Local Authority will require a data room in the near future, so why build or maintain a facility designed to last 25 years that will soon be entirely redundant? Particularly when there are solutions that can aid that transition, reduce carbon emissions and put money back into Public Services.

This is unequivocally where Local Authorities can learn from each other’s success and mistakes.

A big misconception is that the only transformation option is to go wholesale into the cloud which many have learned is the least economic option, particularly if your infrastructure isn’t ‘cloud-ready’. You must first re-architect from the ground-up to a modern solution and then find the right cloud, for the right workload, at the right time.

In my view, there are fewer better stories (and storytellers of this scenario) than Alastair at Derby City Council who really did learn the hard way. He was also kind enough to share his experience at a recent event where he explained first-hand that the moment he lifted and shifted everything the cloud, his ‘cost to serve’ became simply untenable. Alastair then had to bring everything back on premise, engaged Crown and today has a multi-cloud, hybrid environment that has saved money to significantly re-invest, and enables the services they can deliver to the citizens of Derby today.

So, we know that the answer for Local Authorities isn’t simply Cloud-First but it is understanding what is Cloud Appropriate and once Crown Hosting is engaged, we take care of all your legacy equipment for as little or as long a time as you need, so you have the time and choice to make the decisions which make the most sense to you.

A little more conversation

I realise that many Local Authorities aren’t currently making the link between the room in their building where the IT kit sits and the clear opportunities it represents to free up real-estate, create significant cost savings and (as importantly) how it could form a part of the answer on their journey to net-zero.

With all of that taken into consideration, the accountability sits firmly with us to do a better job of communicating those benefits and how easy it is to accomplish – So, if you’re reading this and you work for a Local Authority here’s a great starting point.

Have a chat with your IT guys and understand what plans are in place to achieve your sustainability objectives and then let us talk you through how we can get you there faster, while saving you money, increase your security and ease your transition to the cloud.

I can probably save you the suspense though because if you have sustainability targets to hit, by moving to Crown Hosting you will save 75% electricity and enjoy a 99% carbon reduction (that you can report against) on services that you relocate from day one.

So, in earnest, if you’re a Local Authority organisation who is really serious about accomplishing net-zero, a part of the answer could lie in your own offices, in that room full of technology – because the reality is, it’s currently holding you back.




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Crown Hosting Data Centres Limited is powered by Ark Data Centres, who design, construct, and operate the most efficient UK data centres. Our customers include UK publicly funded, mandated, regulated, and previously regulated organisations and charities.

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