Cost savings and better efficiencies, as opposed to compliance or normative concerns, have driven Green IT up the business priority ladder over the past 12 months.
Preliminary results from Frost & Sullivan’s latest research on priorities within Australian companies have shown Green IT rose from ninth place in 2008 to sixth place this year.
“People are saying it is de-prioritising and I guess if you are in the US or the UK, you would be desperate to de-prioritise it because the downturn is more severe than in Australia, which is quite clear,” Frost & Sullivan analyst, Andrew Milroy, said. “But it is actually gaining traction. The awareness and understanding of the issues have been going up over the years and will continue to.”
Leading the priority list is the economic downturn followed by managing costs, implementing new technologies, growing revenues, skill shortages and then climate change and the environment.
“Green IT is moving up people’s list of priorities. The main drivers are cost, increasing efficiencies and pressure from stakeholders,” Milroy said. “In terms of main green initiatives, virtualisation is leading the way in Australia along with videoconferencing and Web conferencing.”
The analyst firm’s results mirror those of research undertaken by Fujitsu Australia earlier in the year. In a survey of 310 CIOs, the vendor’s consultancy arm found 40 per cent had a green IT policy and of those, 95 per cent saved money as a direct result. According to Fujitsu Australia’s head of sustainability, Alison O’Flynn, the number one reason for the focus on Green IT was reducing energy and saving money.
“The second [business driver] was around corporate image and the third was around having a personal belief. Right down the bottom was compliance, competitors and legislation,” she said.
Additionally, O’Flynn pointed to the Federal Government sector as being a big driver in pushing Green IT up the priorities list.
“As of March 2010, every CIO in Federal Government agencies will have a Green IT key performance indicators [KPIs] and large agencies such as Defense and Centrelink will also have to have individual energy management plans and a Green IT audit each year. It is a really leading industry in tackling Green IT,” she said.
In spite of the economic downturn, O’Flynn claimed Fujitsu’s consulting arm, which focuses on sustainability and Green IT, was well above its targets for the year.
“What we have seen is the consulting part of business continue on and we are well above what we wanted to achieve this year in regards to how many customers we could help,” she said. “At the moment we are six months through our financial year and are at 80 per cent of where we want to be.”