By Philip Martin, CEO of Rapid4Cloud

As we absorb all that has happened during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), we at Rapid4Cloud are considering what we can do to lower our carbon footprint and those of the consulting firms and companies that use our robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to automate elements of their Oracle Cloud Applications estates.

The events of COP26 have inspired me to commit Rapid4Cloud to achieve carbon neutrality by the end of June 2023.  I do this with good intentions, and firmly in the knowledge that I might be accused of virtue-signaling or greenwashing to build brand credentials.  Think what you will – I know what I want to achieve.  With COP26 fresh in our minds it seems appropriate for us all to explore the impact we and our businesses have on our planet.

SaaS is pretty green

As a software-as-a-service (SaaS) software vendor, we could make the argument that we already provide our customers an environmentally-friendly alternative to running similar software in an on-premise data center.  IDC estimates that just moving workloads from on-premise to cloud could save 629 million metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere between 2021 and 2024 — and this is given no additional efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of data centers globally.  If every data center adopted more carbon-neutral processes, that figure could swell to 1.6 billion metric tons.

Cloud vendors including Oracle, on whose data centers Rapid4Cloud’s robotic process automation (RPA) bots run, are taking aggressive steps towards carbon neutrality.  Oracle has committed to 100 percent use of renewables to power its cloud by 2025 and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.  This target has been approved by the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, an accredited partner of the United Nations Race to Zero.

Bots greener than people

In a new whitepaper, we explore how using RPA to automate the more time-consuming and repetitive elements of implementing and managing Oracle Cloud Applications will drastically reduce carbon emissions versus relying on humans with their laptops and monitors, which consume many times over the amount of power required to operate the fraction of an Oracle Cloud server our bots would consume as they complete a process.

On the whole, little serious research has been devoted to how much fewer resources robot workers consume versus human ones.  We keep our numbers at a pretty high level in the whitepaper, but the data is clear.  Whether you are implementing a greenfield instance of Oracle Cloud ERP or just rolling out software to a new business unit or division, automating these processes could be one step towards reducing your company’s contribution to global warming.