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Friday, October 23, 2009

IT – Still Missing the Big Opportunity

With the exception of teleconferencing as a substitute for travel, the recognition by IT practitioners of the value they can bring to the overall improvement in environmental performance of company they serve is woefully short.

This is my fourth and last post adding my personal thoughts on the results of a survey of IT Professionals on Green IT that BT conducted in June 2009. The full results came out in September.

Previous posts commented on employee attitudes and action and on the impact of ROI on Green IT.

Respondents to the survey identified participation in activities such as disposal of electronic equipment, recycling, energy star, consolidation and virtualization, in the order of 70% to almost 90%. But as the attached graph shows, with the exception of teleconferencing, other more strategic contributions to the wider energy efficiency of their organizations are only reported to be in the range of 15% to 35%. This is the equivalent of seeing the cost IT incurs for the company, but missing the value proposition of IT.

(click the image for a larger view, hit 'back' in your browser to return)

Listed in the left column of my blog under the heading “ICTs Carbon Footprint” are many of the reports written on the potential of ICT to reduce carbon emissions. Even the most cautious of these, SMART 2020, identifies the carbon reduction ‘opportunity’ of implementing ICT solutions to be five times bigger than the ‘burden’ of the whole ICT sector. Other reports identify much higher leveraged benefit.

I think that IT departments and folks within those departments with an environmental appreciation are still missing an opportunity to position themselves and their functions as of strategic value to the company’s environmental footprint reduction efforts, rather than as an energy burden that needs to be reduced at all cost.

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