Thursday, 13 March 2008

Where is the IT Focus?

Spent Thursday at the European Green IT Summit in London. Interesting, if not enlightening.

One of the figures bandied about by commentators is that IT contributes 2% to global carbon emissions, the same as air travel. (Although since this is global, it means it would be higher in developed countries and even higher if the economy is more services than manufacturing-orientated, as is the case in the UK).

The point is that at the moment the industry is particularly focussed on that 2%. If you add in another fact I’ve seen more than once, that 50% or more of those emissions are in systems distributed around an organisation, then all the attention on data centres is addressing just 1% of the problem.

The point that several speakers made at the summit and which I heartily endorse, is that it’s the other 98-99% that’s of real interest – it’s where IT can really make a difference.

The ‘Greening’ of data centres would/should have happened anyway, since the main incentive has always been to save money. IT departments need to look beyond the data centre at the bigger corporate picture and adopt a much more holistic approach to how they can help reduce carbon emissions.

The challenge for IT services companies is to be there to help customers. They need the methodology to measure carbon emissions, the experience to advise customers on where savings can be made and the solutions to help them reach their targets. At the moment there are very few (if any) that can do it all in-house.

© The Green IT Review

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