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Green Technology Trend Still More Talk Than Action

It's not easy to write an entry on green technology and not use the hackneyed Kermit the Frog phrase, "It's not easy being green"...and, indeed, we've just failed to do it ourselves. But whether being green is easy or not as far as technology is concerned, it can have its benefits, as RCP told you back in April.

Everybody talks about going green now -- big software companies (especially those involved in virtualization) like to tout the efficiency of their new offerings -- and with energy costs rising and supplies gradually dwindling, some sort of green IT strategy does sound like a good idea.

Most IT executives would agree -- in principle. But in practice, a new survey says, green IT is still more of a talking point than an action item. (And, yes, we're rolling out some of our best meeting-room lingo today.) At the end of the day (see?), green IT might end up the rule rather than the exception, but for now it's still not a corporate priority. Quoth the story linked above:

"According to CDW's new Energy Efficient Information Technology (E2IT) Report, while an overwhelming majority (94 percent) of IT executives say they care about energy efficiency, many simply don't know how much energy they're using.

"More to the point, the E2IT survey indicated, IT executives aren't exactly putting their money -- their budget dollars -- where their mouths are when it comes to green IT. When prioritizing purchasing decisions, CDW found, energy efficiency is frequently passed over in favor of other considerations -- only slightly more than one-third (34 percent) of IT chiefs actually make purchasing decisions on the basis of energy efficiency."

OK, so we're not going to say that not making purchases based on energy efficiency is necessarily a sign that executives are ignoring green IT. After all, there are still other factors (functionality, scalability, cost, etc.) that are more important in a purchasing decision than how much electricity a device sucks through a cord. But the fact that many executives don't know how much energy they're using is a pretty good sign that green IT doesn't have the traction that many observers think it does -- or want it to.

Our guess, though, is that a shift in thinking is on right now. Electricity usage just isn't something that IT execs have worried about in the past. But the world is changing, and so are operating costs and notions of what studies of efficiency should include.

Along those same lines, we heard commercials on the radio in Houston during the Worldwide Partner Conference encouraging drivers to trade in their pickups and SUVs for hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles. Trade in a Ford Ranger (or Chevy, for you zealots out there) for a Prius? In Houston? Anybody running that commercial two years ago would have been run out of the state. But high fuel prices have changed many folks' thinking on the matter.

And we're sure that the same thing is happening in IT. Gradually, executives are coming around to see the benefits of green IT. But while technology innovation moves quickly, investment in technology tends to be much more deliberate. So we figure it'll be a few more years yet before green IT becomes a priority. In the meantime, we'll try to keep the Kermit references to a minimum.

How are you preparing to go green? How are you selling green IT to your customers? Tell us at [email protected].

Posted by Lee Pender on August 13, 2008


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