Digital Waste Audit

We have identified the characteristics required by an organization to manage its digital environment in the most sustainable and environmentally friendly manner possible. This audit is particularly focused on identifying digitally wasteful processes and activities that hinder sustainability. At the end of the audit you will get a rating from A to E, and a set of clear recommendations on what you need to do to improve. The average cost is in the region of €8,000 to €12,000.

1. What is measured

The audit will focus on the following areas:

1) Culture
2) Communities
3) Work from home
4) Computers, smartphones
5) Website design
6) App design
7) Metadata, information architecture
8) Data
9) Communication

1.1. Culture

A multi-disciplinary, cross-functional culture reduces digital waste by helping target unnecessary duplication and ensuring that what is created is more rounded and comprehensive. A sustainable digital culture questions needless creation, collection and tracking. Key to waste reduction is establishing clear lines of responsibility for data and ensuring everything is properly maintained. Reuse and sharing should be prioritized and the overall metricsshould focus on use and usefulness, not production, launch and leave.

1. Multi-disciplinary, cross-functional
2. Responsibility
3. Creation, collection, tracking
4. Reuse
5. Sharing
6. Maintenance, archiving, deletion
7. Measurement, analytics

1.2. Communities

Nurturing genuinely collaborative environments that are well designed and managed is key to waste reduction as they enhance the abilities to share and reuse.

1. Moderation
2. Active, inactive communities
3. Response rates to posts
4. Search
5. Maintenance, archiving, deletion

1.3. Work from home

People need to be able to work from home in the most productive and energy-efficient manner possible.

1. Training
2. Support
3. Equipment
4. Internet
5. Data storage

1.4. Computers, smartphones

The right computers and smartphones need to be available, along with the right ways to use these devices so that they generate as little waste as possible.

1. Minimum specs, highest energy ratings
2. Long life, repair
3. Recycling
4. Screens
5. Energy conservation
6. Charging

1.5. Website design

Websites have exploded in weight and become hugely wasteful and polluting. It’s essential to remove all the waste that has built up in HTML, JavaScript, CSS, fonts, etc. Images and videos require particular focus as they are the prime drivers in the huge weight and waste increases on the Web.

1. Webpages

a) Average page weight
b) Average page load time
d) JavaScript
e) CSS
f) Fonts
g) Third-party plugins
h) Caching
i) Tracking, logging
j) Bots
k) Content Delivery Network (CDN) architecture
l) Templates

2. Images, video

a) Use, function
b) Compression
c) File formats
d) Image sizing / resizing
e) Lazy load

3. File formats

a) Optimal use

4. Analytics

a) Page errors
b) System errors
c) High energy consumption

5. Hosting

a) Renewable energy

1.6. App design

Many of the same principles that apply to Web design can also be applied to app design.

1. Energy efficiency
2. Updates
3. Dark mode
4. Device-based image resizing
5. Energy-consumption optimization (peak times, etc.)
6. Processing speed

1.7. Metadata, information architecture

It is very difficult to create a sustainable, collaborative sharing and reuse environment without a robust, genuinely intuitive information architecture.

1. Metadata

a) Title
b) Description

2. Information architecture

a) Classification
b) Navigation
c) Search

1.8. Data

The choices for data storage have a significant impact on costs. It’s estimated that in typical environments up to 90% of data is not useful. Identifying and deleting junk data is thus one of the most important activities that can be undertaken.

1. Data storage

a) Cloud (renewable energy host)
b) Local
c) Archive

2. Data security, privacy

a) Privacy
b) Security

3. Data transfer

a) Wired
b) WiFi
c) Mobile

3. Data junk

a) Identification
b) Duplication
c) Deletion

1.9. Communication

Unnecessary communication is a key source of digital waste. Email and meeting overload reduces productivity. A proliferation of email attachments often reflects a lack of confidence in the search and information architecture.

1. Email

a) Quantity
b) Format (text, HTML)
c) Signatures
d) Thread management
e) CCs
f) Attachments

2. Online meetings

a) Use of video
b) Screen sizes
c) Transmission, processing
d) Storage

3. Templates

a) PowerPoint
b) Word

2. How audit will be carried out

Three core activities will be involved in the Digital Waste Audit:
1. Management interviews
2. Employee interviews
3. Review of digital environment

2.1. Manager interviews

Structured interviews with appropriate managers covering culture, training, metadata, data and communication practices. The questions are weighted based on overall importance, and each question can get from zero to 5 based on how well the answer complies with the optimal answer.

2.2. Employee interviews

About 10 employee interviews.Many of the same questions will be asked as asked to managers but this time from an employee perspective. This will allow us to cross-check and see if employees feel they are having the same experience as management believes they are.

2.3. Review of digital environment

1. Communities

a) Number of communities.
b) Moderation
c) Active versus inactive
d) Response rates to posts

2. Website / app

a) Detailed analysis of about 10 pages (will depend on size and type of website / app.)
b) Look for pages that are distinct but are a template for many other pages.
c) Technical review (HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Images, etc.)

3. Metadata, information architecture

a) Metadata
b) Navigation / classification
c) Search

4. Data

a) Storage
b) Archiving
c) Deletion

5. Communication

a) Email usage data
b) Online meetings data
c) Templates review

2.4. Deliverables

1. A combined rating based on the manager and employee interviews and the review of the digital environment. This rating will grade the organization on a scale going from A to E, with A being excellent and E being extremely poor.
2. Individual ratings for:

a. Culture
b. Communities
c. Work from home
d. Computers, smartphones
e. Website design
f. App design
g. Metadata, information architecture
h. Data
i. Communication

3. Key findings: What were the most striking things that were discovered.
4. Key recommendations: Clear and precise recommendations in relation to how to reduce digital waste.

2.5. Costs

For a small environment, the cost can be in the region of €6,000, but typical costs are in the region of €8,000 to €10,000, with very large environments costing €20,000 and upwards.

2.6. Contact

Phone: +353 87 238 6136