Green IT: Beyond the hype

Green IT: Beyond the hype

Will green IT eventually become the standard?

Like so many good ideas, the concept of green IT has been hijacked by marketing departments to the point where almost anything with a plug is being sold as an environmental solution. Not surprisingly this has created scepticism in the market as customers try to navigate their way through the hype but, as green IT continues to mature, will it eventually be incorporated into the industry so that green solutions become the only solutions. Somerville Group’s Adrian O’Toole thinks it will become standard within 3-5 years.

But even if that is the case, ComputerCorp’s Tony Heywood said green IT would remain an area of constant innovation and improvement.

Fujitsu’s Alison O’Flynn said the CIO of one client she has been working with recently got a key performance indicator on green IT after the first piece of work was completed.

“I think that’s a fantastic example of leadership, that they’re prepared to change the metrics,” she said. “They’ve recently announced to vendors at their IT summit that green IT is one of their top four strategic goals; they want to be known as the leading green IT organisation in Australia.

“Vendors have been given two weeks to tell them whether they have ISO 14001, what their green policy is, and if they haven’t got it [ISO 14001] then when they’ll have it by. Those examples are few and far between today but that’s where we’re going to get to. It will be normal business that’s linked to your profitability.”

Carbon Planet’s Iain Smale said some tenders already required companies to demonstrate that they are carbon neutral before responding. He cited commercial flooring giant, InterfaceFLOR, as an example and said he had been approached by a couple of transport companies that wanted help so they could respond to the tender. He also noted that a publishing company working for one of the major banks had been told to show some green credentials if it wanted to retain its million-dollar contract.

Fujitsu’s O’Flynn said there had been a real shift in tenders during the past six months so that green IT was now integrated throughout the response rather than tagged on the end as a value add.

Somerville’s Toole said large enterprise organisations were increasingly being asked to meet global compliance requirements around green IT but that it wasn’t yet being driven down through the broader market.

Datacom’s Andrew Peel agreed it was still early days and said it was difficult to say at this stage whether companies were winning and losing business as a result of green credentials.

“A lot of organisations have decided [green IT] is the right thing to do in line with their corporate strategy but whether they are basing purchasing decisions on it is still undetermined,” he said.

ComputerCorp’s Heywood said Y2K compliance was only treated seriously as an issue in the final two years leading up to 2000. Fujitsu’s O’Flynn said this was a very good parallel because we are only 18 months away from carbon trading and businesses still don’t have a financial model to handle it. While there were still a lot of mixed messages in the market, she expressed the hope that the term ‘green IT’ would disappear within 18 months.

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