They might have plenty of other things on their plate, but as Mark Samuels argues IT chiefs who ignore the environmental impact of their departments are toying with their job security
Being green is all well and good, but where do you find the time? Chief information officers (CIOs) are busy - there's complex service-oriented architectures to set up and intricate people management issues to unravel.
Against the backdrop of such strategic developments, it might seem slightly trivial for a CIO to start concentrating on the wasteful people in accounts who print too much paper and users who fail to turn off computing equipment at night.
So, you're a time-pressured CIO, exasperated by the need to over-manage the small details.
Maybe you even think that green computing is a cynical strategy that is being used to sway public relations?
It is time to drop the suspicion and make time for environmentalism. A couple of years of media and consumer pressure have left the CIO with a stark choice: be seen to care about the environment or risk losing business, or even your job.
Partners and clients will increasingly make purchasing choices on a firm's green credentials. And with the IT department being one of the business’s most wasteful departments, the CIO is likely to be a crucial strategy setter.
The finance-obsessed chief executive, driven by a desire for increased value and a limited knowledge of IT, is likely to be appalled by waste in the technology sector.
Analyst Gartner estimates the IT industry has a carbon footprint as big as the airline industry, and accounts for two per cent of all global carbon emissions.
With the boss watching you, the best advice is to think quickly and to think big. Cutting printing and energy costs is just the start. Trade association Intellect suggests technology leaders should find out exactly what they are spending, not only in a financial sense but also in carbon and energy terms.
Such figures will help CIOs establish return on investment figures from IT that are essential for helping to create a green computing strategy for the organisation. Their strategy should then call on a range of technologies and policies, including virtualisation and component reuse, to cut energy use.
Demonstrating business benefits can help convert even the most cynical of IT leaders and help impress the chief executive.
And that kind of strategy has to be worth as much of your time as possible in your monthly schedule.
Mark Samuels is editor of Computing Business magazine.
A version of this article first appeared at Mark's The Knowledge Blog.
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