IDC: Green IT still viewed as ‘more for tree-huggers’

Green IT adoption is increasing but some organisations are still sceptical.

Green and sustainable IT is becoming increasingly important for businesses but some organisations still view it as a hippie craze, according to IDC Asia-Pacific research director, Phil Carter.

At HP’s Eco Solutions Awards ceremony, Carter brought up statistics from IDC’s recent Green IT survey of over 200 IT executives and large organisations. Cost of energy remains a primary driver for adoption of Green IT solutions with 61 per cent of respondents confirming this.

However, only 9 per cent of IT departments in Australia actually pay the power bills which, according to Carter, diminishes the incentive for IT departments to address energy consumption.

Senior management was driving Green IT changes in 38 per cent of companies while 51 per cent of respondents said the ‘Greenness’ of a vendor was somewhat or very important.

More than half of local organisations have a formal Green IT policy but it is unclear how many have actually executed it.

While Australia fared better than most countries surveyed in Asia-Pacific, it still faced serious hurdles in widespread Green and sustainable IT adoption.

The key challenges include senior management such as CEOs and CIOs not buying into the benefits of Green IT.

Sustainability, according to Carter, is emerging but is still not at the core of what companies do.

“There is a two-fold scepticism and first of all, there is the question of how it will impact a company’s bottom line,” Carter told ARN.

“Second of all, to some extent, the concept is a little bit out there as in some still think it’s warm and fuzzy; more for the tree-huggers.

“This is still the mentality in some organisations.”

Carter said it is paramount that senior management buy into Green IT and to dedicate resources accordingly or else such initiatives won’t get the visibility it requires among staff in the organisation.

“I think when you don’t have executives buying in and the ability to create a business case then it really is a challenge for organisations to execute any kind of Green IT policy,” he said.

A large portion of companies surveyed had a Green IT policy in place but Carter estimates only 20 per cent are very far into putting the policy in place.

There is opportunity for the channel to step in, according to Carter.

“It is important for local channel partners to build out services capabilities not only to increase margins but to also drive higher value to their customers,” he said. “Green IT and sustainability is a very good example of where they can do that.

“It’s consulting and advisory but it’s also managed and even support types of services as well.”

Such services include managed print services (MPS), which HP offers though the channel, HP vice-president of the imaging and printing group, Richard Bailey, said.