Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/31/green_it_freeformdynamics/

Writing ‘Green IT’ at the top of the business agenda

Are we all pulling in the same direction?

By Team Register

Posted in Reg Technology Panel, 31st January 2008 15:10 GMT

Freeform DynamicsReg Tech Panel

The level of importance placed on ‘green IT’ when it comes to choosing new kit and looking at different IT vendors isn’t that great, as 1,300 readers recently told us. It will be soon though, as the same survey revealed that while only about one in 20 say green related selection criteria are weighted highly in the procurement process today, it was acknowledged that it will only become more important in the future.

It's not often that an issue big and broad enough to impact the entire organization comes along, and it may already be slightly grating on you that everything that was until recently ‘common sense’ is now ‘green’ - but so what? There is an opportunity here - it just seems to lack direction at the moment.

What’s missing, as our research shows us, and the readers' comments seem to support, are signs of cohesion between the business side and the IT side when it comes to getting a plan together. If there was, we might hear less about misguided bulk purchases of plastic/corn ‘green’ coffee cups and more about IT being given insight into plans and priorities so it could come up with something to support a business goal, rather than something just technically excellent or green in its own right. If both sides pursue separate green agendas, how is that sustainable? Or common sense?

Currently, a very small number of readers say they feel pretty confident that business and IT are moving ahead in tune with each other; even smaller numbers say IT is leading the business, or that the business is leading IT. The majority aren’t doing anything, together or not. As someone rightly pointed out, we have a window of opportunity to ‘get greener’, before someone makes us.

Where we really are is simply at the beginning of an era where some broad areas which used to be filed under ‘good business sense’ have become synonymous with giving Mother Earth a helping hand, or at least not screwing it up quite as much. Reg readers have pointed out that plenty of what’s being offered up they’d be looking at anyway, so the gap between the business and IT could be closed by one side explaining its longer term ambitions and priorities, and the other side coming up with solutions that fit. If someone at corporate level wants to call that their ‘sustainable green strategy for the future’ - well, great, everyone gets to look good too.

Regardless, a simultaneous awakening of both the business and IT sides of the organization to all this offers an opportunity to address the whole ‘do more with less’ thing in a more cohesive and (no pun intended) sustainable way, possibly even avoiding future finger-pointing and the all-time classic, ‘well, you might have bothered telling us’. Surely that makes it worth it?

More details of the research discussed above, along with lessons to be learned and insights from a range of industry speakers, will be presented at the up and coming Reg Debate, which you can sign up for here. Every attendee will receive a free copy of the full Green Computing Report too.