Friday, 26 November 2010

Green IT maturity assessment in Korea – but what about enablement?

The (South) Korean National Information Society Agency (NIA) and Accenture have produced a report entitled ‘Assessing Green IT Maturity among Korean Companies’. It’s based on survey carried out in September 2010 across 52 Korean companies and puts the Korean efforts on par with companies worldwide, but behind the global leaders.

In 2008, the Korean government announced ‘low-carbon, green growth’ as a vision for national growth. The idea is to “create new engines for economic growth and jobs by fostering promising new energy and environment-related industry
sectors and developing related new technologies and converging these industry sectors with traditional industries…”. The long-term plan is to join the global top seven green countries by 2020 and the global top five by 2050.

IT-related government agencies, including the Public Administration and Knowledge Economy Ministry and the Korea
Communications Commission, have established a green IT policy, while the the Presidential Committee on Green Growth has drafted a national green IT plan to effectively coordinate the efforts.


IT maturity is assessed across five areas; corporate citizenship, work practices, data centres, office environment and procurement (see the diagram above for more details). Maturity stages are from ‘incomplete’ – a process is in place but not used – through to ‘optimised’, where the process closely reflects business goals.

The study showed that the average green IT maturity score of the Korean companies was 2.4 points out of the five-point maximum, similar to Accenture’s figure of 2.4 for the average maturity of companies globally. However, the score was 0.9 points lower than the average of leading companies (3.3 point average). (The global leading firms cited in the report are; Google, Microsoft, HP, IBM, BT, Intel, Williams-Sonoma, Inc and DuPont.)


Within the various categories, data centres and work methods scored 2.7 points, a little higher than the global average (2.5/2.6 points, respectively), which the NIA puts down to Korean companies having higher-level IT infrastructures and computerisation systems. Doing less well is office environment, which scored 2.3 points compared with a global average of 2.4 points, while procurement scored 1.9, compared with 2.2.

By business, logistics/distribution and petroleum/chemicals scored well, 2.8 points compared with a global average of 2.4, while public corporations and agencies only scored 1.7 points against a global average of 2.2 points and utilities/construction 1.8 points compared with 2.8 points.


It’s interesting addition to the published reports on green IT maturity - I reported on Fujitsu’s assessment of the US, UK, Australian and Indian markets back in September. Clearly Korea is taking the issue seriously, is matching performance from around the world and setting itself ambitious targets. There’s a lot more in the report, including details of improvement measures across the various categories.

Unfortunately though, unlike the Fujitsu model, this assessment uses a narrow view of green IT, which seems to be primarily about the sustainability of the IT operation. It’s important, but IT has a much bigger part to play, particularly related to climate change. IT is at the heart of all business so has a very significant ‘enabling’ role, i.e. helping the rest of the business reduce emissions. A number of reports have made the point, starting with the smart 2020 report back in 2008.

What we need is a universal agreement on what constitutes green IT and a common means to measure it’s maturity. But then we also need world peace.

© The Green IT Review

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