Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Green IT in Australia – improving, but could do (a lot) better

Connection Research has released its second annual Green IT report on the Australian IT market.  The survey-based research shows that whilst Australian organisations have become considerably greener in their IT use in the last 12 months, the rate of improvement varies considerably.  As yet, though, IT efforts are less than halfway down the path to effective Green IT.

The level of Green IT maturity is measured by Connection Research’s Green IT Readiness Index, which quantifies five different areas: Lifecycle, End User, Enterprise, Enablement and Metrics. Over 200 companies provided the input on which the Australian assessment was made.

Overall, the Green IT Readiness Index for Australian organisations has improved from 36.5 (out of 100) in 2009 to 49.2 in 2010.  Graeme Philipson, Connection Research’s Research Director is quoted as saying “This indicates substantial improvement over the last year, but there is a long way to go. Most IT departments still don’t even know what their electricity consumption is.”

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The chart shows comparisons between 2009 and 2010:

• Lifecycle – declined from 2009 to 2010.  Last year it was the highest rated component of the index, now it’s in third place behind End User and Enterprise (the big improvers).  It shows a general lack of interest in improving green procurement and disposal practices.

• End User – has improved considerably in 2010, indicating a much stronger awareness and implementation of practices such as improved PC power management.

• Enterprise – the biggest improvement of any index component, from 30.5 (the second lowest) in 2009 to 54.8 (the second highest) in 2010. It reflects the much higher profile of enterprise energy efficiency issues, particularly in the data centre.

• Enablement – the improvement in score to 47.3 in 2010 shows that organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the role IT can play in reducing the whole organisation’s carbon footprint.

• Metrics – perhaps the most disappointing, with just a small improvement over 2009.  It shows the relative immaturity of most organisations’ Green IT strategies - if you don’t measure the energy consumption of the IT process it’s difficult to make effective improvements.

 

It’s an interesting analysis of green IT progress, produced in collaboration with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.  It seems to show how the popular, headline aspects of green IT have gained ground, i.e. end-user behaviour and data centre energy use, whilst the harder and less obvious aspects – procurement and enablement – are slower.  It seems to me that a lot hangs on the metrics aspect – you need a base measure to work from and many Australian companies haven’t taken that fundamental step yet.

I have to confess to some bias here as I work with Connection Research from time to time, but it’s clear how useful the Readiness Index can be in measuring and comparing the green IT progress in countries, industries or companies.  Expect to see more.

© The Green IT Review

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