Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Green IT on Rebound: Forrester

The recession knocked the wind out of the sails of some organizations’ Green IT efforts, but there are signs of renewed enthusiasm, a report from Forrester Research has found.

In a survey of enterprise Green IT practices, conducted in November of 2009, Forrester found that a wide range of organizations are planning Green IT initiatives in the coming year in such areas as data center efficiency, distributed IT, and energy and carbon management. However, it noted the rebound is somewhat muted with enterprises taking a “slow but steady approach” to Green IT.

Still, that is a significant improvement over the last survey, conducted six months earlier which showed many organizations had stalled or even curtailed Green IT initiatives. It was the first time in the two years that Forrester has been conducting the survey that Green IT momentum had faltered.

It seems that while most organizations want to move forward with Green initiatives, cost and the larger economic picture can be an overriding factor.

“Cost remains by far the top motivation for pursuing Green IT activities,” Forrester said in the report. “Moving down the list of potential motivations, we see both brand perception and more resilient IT infrastructure ticking up slightly, while regulatory concerns remain near the bottom of the list of rationales.”

Forrester said there were other signs for optimism on the Green IT front. Buyer awareness of vendors’ Green efforts is at an all time high. The research firm surveyed 900 IT professionals and found that nearly half of all respondents were “very aware” of vendors’ efforts to improve the green characteristics of their products.

It also found that most companies routinely include Green criteria in their evaluation and selection of IT equipment. The percentage of respondents doing so jumped from 25% in the first survey conducted on the topic in 2007 to 56% in the November survey. “While the breadth and rigor of such criteria vary widely, vendors must be ready to respond to prospects’ questions about the sustainability characteristics of both their products and their company’s policies and practices,” Forrester recommended.

As part of its survey, Forrester asked, “What is your organization’s top three motivators for pursing greener IT operations?”

• Reduce energy-related operating expenses came out on top with 66% of the vote.
• Reduce other IT operating expenses (such as maintenance or labor) was second with 42%.
• Do the right thing for the environment” was third with 34% of the vote. However, that was the lowest showing for that choice since Forrester began conducting the survey in 2007.

CIO Zone

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