Green IT: Beyond the Hype
The industry’s green IT conversation has so far been dominated by tactical energy-efficiency and waste-reduction efforts. Computer hardware and software vendors, sensing a financial bonanza and opportunity to appear virtuous, have flooded the market with so-called green products. Energy use in IT, like all other technology-intensive industries, has been put under a microscope, but sometimes it’s difficult to glean the good from the gimmick and it’s enough to make some IT managers dismiss green technology altogether.
The intersection of IT and sustainability presents vendors with a broad array of business opportunities that go far beyond improving the energy and carbon footprint of IT infrastructure.
Green for IT – Otherwise, called the “Green IT 1.0” world. This is about applying sustainability practices to a company’s IT operations and infrastructure. IT for Green – The new horizon of the “green IT 2.0” world goes beyond the IT department focus in the ‘Green IT 1.0′ because it involves using IT to improve the sustainability of company operations and society at large.
Again, IT elements define the emerging green opportunities: business process and applications – supply chain, building automation, remote working and other business operations outside of IT; public infrastructure, capturing information technology’s role in creating efficient transportation systems, smart electric grids, and even new green communities built from scratch. As strategists peer out into the broader landscape of green IT 2.0, a wide array of hardware, software, and service market opportunities come into view.
This is the heart of the green IT opportunity, with many markets ripe for the picking. These range from building new, highly efficient data center facilities to optimizing existing equipment with better power management or application portfolio management. Big system original equipment manufacturers have significant pipelines of business here, both in design services and drag-along hardware and software sales.
As we move outside of the IT organization and infrastructure proper, and into a region of the opportunity map where IT is an enabler for other parts of the company to improve their sustainability, the biggest challenge for green IT vendors is to help their customers’ CIOs tackle the 2.0 challenges.
Green is climbing higher on the strategic agenda for most companies, and IT has the unique position and capabilities to advance that agenda. At the same time, CIOs and IT budgets are under increasing scrutiny to justify spending. So green IT must pay its own way by providing tangible, short-term cost savings in both IT operations and the rest of the business.
PEI is proud to be a sponsor and panel participant for the Boulder County Business Report’s Green Summit on June 15, 2010, the largest gathering of green business interests throughout Boulder County. To learn more and to register, visit www.bcbr.com.