For the last two years Forrester has presented and most recently partnered with the Tech:Touchstone event management company that produces the Green IT 2009 Conference & Exhibition in London. Despite one year in passing and a challenging economic environment, green IT is still top of mind in 2009. Forrester found that 43% of UK IT professionals have a green IT action plan in place, with an additional 43% developing or considering it. Unchanged, the driving motivations for green IT continue to be "reducing the impact of energy consumption" and "extending the life cycle of IT assets."
So what has changed since last year? More so than ever, the economic woes in 2009 are requiring IT professionals to get smarter about proposing and funding green IT initiatives. As one IT operations leader in the telco industry explained, “Costs speak to our management, so identifying the financial cost and operational returns before-hand are key to gaining support and continued funding on green IT activities.” Likewise, using green IT to achieve corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals is becoming a much stronger motivation. And conference attendees identified CSR teams as an increasing source of funding for IT projects with demonstrable green outcomes. For example, here is an anecdote from a CIO in the retail industry:
“We had a server virtualization project that was stalled due to funding. We approached our corporate CSR team once we heard they had resources available for projects with demonstrable green outcomes, specifically energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction. Based on the project’s green benefits — it would significantly improve the organization’s carbon footprint by removing power-hungry servers from the data center — we were able to secure funding and appreciably accelerate the project's timeline.”
Stay tuned for a more complete summary of our findings from this year’s Green IT conference to be published in the coming weeks on www.forrester.com. In the meantime, I encourage you to read the blog post below from fellow Forrester Analyst, Chris Mines, who attended this year’s event. You can also review our 2008 findings here if you haven’t already.
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I had the privilege of hosting the Green IT 2009 conference in London back in May and wanted to share a couple of observations about that terrific event. I often tell clients in the U.S. that I am taking "a trip to the future" when I go to Europe; in particular, UK public sector organizations are probably the most advanced anywhere in terms of green IT behaviors (or should I say behaviours?).
Two statements I heard from IT procurement people at the conference that should be on the radar screen for vendor strategists looking to anticipate the next wave of enterprises' green requirements, and for IT planners looking to get more aggressive about their company's green IT initiatives:
- Requirements for longer-lifecycle IT equipment. Planned obsolesence is going to become obsolete. Expect your customers to require longer warranty periods, modular/upgradeable designs, and lifecycle-based carbon footprint analysis from you and your gear. Companies are realizing that, as one conference attendee put it, "we puts lots of bodies in motion" when they order new equipment.
- Increasing demand for green/renewable energy. No matter how efficient a data center is, it can't really be green unless it's powered by green energy.
Forrester's latest survey data on enterprise adoption of green IT practices, including differences across geographies, is summarized in an archived teleconference. My next trip across the pond will be in November and I look forward to connecting with our UK and European clients again then.
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