Economic trouble driving green IT initiatives

By Jon Brodkin, Network World |  Green IT, economy, environment

Economic recession is causing many companies to ramp up the speed of green IT initiatives, while a much smaller number of companies have decided to slow down their green activities.

The lion's share of more than 1,000 companies surveyed by Forrester Research are not making any changes to their green programs. Among those who will, however, the number of companies accelerating green IT is twice as high as the number slowing down.

"The data is counterintuitive only at first glance," Forrester analyst Christopher Mines writes in a report released this week. "Companies are realizing that 'green means green' -- more sustainable computing operations are also more efficient and less costly."

Ten percent of the companies surveyed are accelerating green IT initiatives, while 5 percent are slowing down. The rest, 85 percent, are maintaining the same pace or say it's too early to know what impact the worsening economy will have on their green IT plans. Interest in the topic of energy efficiency seems to be growing, Forrester says, noting that its most recent poll in October garnered a larger response than any previous green survey the analyst firm has conducted.

The companies surveyed are distributed through the United States, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Japan and other regions, and are mostly large, with 71 percent having at least 1,000 employees.

Naturally, saving money on energy costs is the primary motivating factor causing corporations to ramp up green IT efforts, particularly in the United States. Overseas, there is more concern about aligning IT with corporate green initiatives and using green to improve brand image.

Overall, 25 percent of companies are implementing a comprehensive green IT program, up from 15 percent last year and up from 20 percent in April. Another 27 percent are drawing up plans to go green, and another 34 percent are considering doing so.

Nearly six of ten companies already are using green criteria in their IT procurement process, and one of ten use a professional services provider to help plan or implement a green IT program.

Previous Forrester research predicted that the worldwide market for green IT services will grow from $500 million in 2008 to nearly $5 billion in 2013, and Mines writes that the recent survey data makes the analyst firm more confident in that prediction.

"It is a very encouraging data point for all of us in the IT industry who have been promoting the energy savings and reduced total cost of ownership of more efficient hardware and software," he writes. (Compare server products.)

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