The FINANCIAL — Microsoft Corp. on February 9 announced the general availability of the Environmental Sustainability Dashboard for Microsoft Dynamics AX.
The new toolset, available to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 customers at no additional charge, will enable midsize businesses to capture data needed to measure key indicators related to energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions as part of everyday business processes from within their enterprise resource planning solution, helping them pinpoint ways to cut their energy consumption and costs.
With the new solution, companies can collect auditable data on four of the core environmental performance indicators identified by the Global Reporting Initiative for energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, including direct on-premise fuel consumption and the carbon footprint of their power usage with utilities and other vendors. Based on this information, organizations can monitor their carbon footprint and institute business practices that are both environmentally and economically sustainable, minimizing their exposure to fluctuating energy costs, for example.
“Businesses will find new opportunities for cost savings and improving operational performance by getting a fresh perspective on their operations,” said Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president, Microsoft Business Solutions. “In many cases, midsize organizations can’t retain dedicated consultants to audit their environmental performance. By integrating groundbreaking environmental performance management capabilities with Microsoft Dynamics AX, we are bringing that critical information directly to customers as part of their everyday business management.”
According to Microsoft, the dashboard delivers new functionality that is highly sought after by customers. In a recent survey of 130 IT procurement and operational professionals by Forrester Research Inc., 55 percent expressed interest in reducing energy-related expenses, and 50 percent expressed interest in doing the right thing for the environment. (“Five Steps to Building a Recession-Proof Packaged Applications Strategy,” Forrester Research, December 2008).
The new dashboard harnesses Microsoft Dynamics’ groundbreaking RoleTailored design, which equips employees with a personalized Role Center based on the information they need to do their job. The dashboard itself serves as the environmental manager’s Role Center, delivering the information crucial to performing that job. Furthermore, these reports can be easily surfaced within employees’ individual Role Centers within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 or other familiar productivity tools, such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. This allows organizations to increase their internal transparency, drive employee engagement and rapidly raise awareness of environmental initiatives, and propagates green practices and frugal energy usage companywide, embedding them firmly in organizational culture.
“The Microsoft Dynamics Environmental Sustainability Dashboard will allow us to drill down into our energy consumption and overall environmental performance with far greater precision,” said George Bock, vice president of Information Technology at Sole Technology Inc., based in Lake Forest, Calif. “This will give us a powerful tool to make a positive impact on both the planet and our bottom line.”
Today’s announcements deliver on Microsoft’s broad-based commitment to harnessing the power of innovative software to promote environmentally sustainable business practices.
“The Environmental Sustainability Dashboard for Microsoft Dynamics AX helps companies address one of the biggest challenges facing business today — the need to gather and track environmental data,” said Rob Bernard, chief environmental strategist at Microsoft. “Equipped with this information, companies will be able to make decisions that benefit both their bottom line and the environment.
“The dashboard not only improves business operations, but it also allows organizations to comply with the emerging regulatory environment and satisfy demands from customers and supply chain partners for greater transparency,” Bernard said. “Customers are increasingly challenged with ways to do good for both their bottom line and the environment and we are thrilled to be able to offer a new set of tools to help them meet both objectives.”
Microsoft today also released detailed instructions on how businesses can implement environmental management accounting principles within Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics NAV to gain greater visibility into their environmental footprint. The resource complements Environmental Management Accounting Guidance issued for Microsoft Dynamics AX in July 2008.
Today’s release enables Microsoft Dynamics partners to expand their business offerings. Comprehensive guidance, available with the dashboard, walks partners and customers through how they can work together to create a greenhouse gas inventory to determine a company’s emissions, a typically challenging and complex process.