•Roundtable experts discuss emergence of “Green” in IT sector
•Virtualisation, SaaS and Cloud Computing have helped drive awareness of Green IT, but effective uptake is slow
•Experts agree that ‘lean’ is taking precedence over “Green”
Maidenhead, UK, 31st March 2010: FAST Ltd, a leading UK authority on Software Asset Management and IT Compliance, providing software, education, consulting and managed services, hosted a roundtable of experts to give their views on Green IT and whether it’s set to become a mainstream issue in 2010.
With the new Carbon Reduction Commitment legislation coming into force from April and the fallout from the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, measures aimed at carbon reduction through Green IT are high on every organisation’s agenda. Participants reported that the new types of technology have helped drive awareness of Green IT, but uptake within UK organisations will be a slow process and it’s not going to happen in one big leap. The conclusion was that organisations need to think carefully about how they can play their part, and that having strong executive support and a coordinated approach to managing business and IT assets are important ways of doing so.
The roundtable event, ‘Will Green IT Become Mainstream in 2010?’, part of the CEO Series, was hosted by FAST Ltd and included software vendor Microsoft, together with Doxense, Evoco, Intellect, Webroot, Kyocera Mita, Memset, Numara Software, and a representative from industry analyst the 451 Group.
A key driver for the discussion was how awareness of Green IT has evolved over the last few years, but how availability tends to be more important than green or energy efficiency. Andy Lawrence at the 451 Group said: “The general jist that we are getting from the data centre operators is that cost is more important than being green, and that availability – in the sense of being reliable and always on – trumps green or energy efficiency every time. We spend a lot of time working with these operators whose primary focus, especially in the U.S. market, is about trying to understand the business implications of these new technologies and how a move to ‘green’ will affect availability.”
Kate Craig Wood, Managing Director at Memset and Chair of the Intellect Climate Change Group mentioned that some companies are achieving both high availability and high efficiency. “It’s definitely possible for companies to do both, and for example Google has demonstrated that. But it has to be said that a lot of the lessons from Google aren’t applicable directly to smaller organisations and the mid-market, as they are operating at such a great scale. Part of it comes down to how deep your pocket is.”
Kyocera Mita’s Tracey Rawling Church also mentioned that the idea of ‘stingy environmentalism’ is really catching on. “People are making decisions now based on efficiency, rather than greenness – and it reflects a pragmatism. I’ve been promoting sustainable printer hardware for 16 years. In the early days people were buying because it looked good in their annual reports. It’s simply not the case anymore, as it’s all about the cost benefit and whether it will improve the bottom line. And I think this is good, it makes it mainstream.”
John Dunnet at Evoco said there has been a lot of talk about Green IT for quite a long time and that there are two distinct camps within organisations when it comes to driving it forward. “There are those people who are evangelists that will look at any opportunity to drive Green IT and perhaps have to do it for regulatory or PR reasons, and then there are the ones that are in the Stone-Age who are grinding away and struggling to keep up.”
Richard Zaltzman from Microsoft added that his company is an example of an organisation that is taking a lot of steps to drive Green IT best practice internally. “Over the last few years, we’ve started to improve the efficiency of our data centres and we are continuing to drive Virtualisation. We’ve also introduced Unified Communications into the company and we are selling this strongly as a way to reduce our staff’s travel footprint.”
Kate Craig Wood agreed and mentioned that it’s quite a big deal for companies to try and reduce their carbon emissions by 15 percent by 2020. “We’re really starting to see the stakes move now. Companies are looking at how they can use Green IT to reduce ICT costs, whether it’s through smart logistics, home-working, intelligent building, the list goes on.”
Participants agreed that organisational culture can often be a barrier to driving initiatives such as Green IT. Lee Schofield at Doxense said that the printing culture is a prime example of this: “Printing is very wasteful and UK organisations are the worst offenders in the world. People just print without even thinking about it, so changing this culture is very hard without introducing new technologies such as managed print services into the business.”
Emma Fryer at Intellect said that climate change legislation was not going to go away. There was also a sense of deflation after the recent Copenhagen Conference, which almost inevitably failed to deliver on exaggerated expectations. The UEA fiasco had also been very damaging.
“There’s plenty of legislation coming out, and the Commission in the UK has made their commitment to reduce emissions, which I’m all for. But there are a lot of problems with the CRC, for instance – it was hastily conceived and badly put together which is going to make it hard for organisations to drive Green IT initiatives.
When asked what needs to happen to needs to happen to get UK organisations on track to cut carbon emissions to sustainable levels, participants agreed that IT and software manufacturers have a big part to play.
Andy White at Numara Software said: “Yes. Green IT is about printing, turning off lights and turning off screens, but it’s also about organisations taking a far more proactive approach to power management and integrating processes. You need to look at the entire business process including the lifecycle of IT assets, the power management of assets, the device management of assets, and basically put all of that together. We’re seeing a big trend to web-based joined-up IT which is helping organisations save in all areas of IT, Human Resources, Security, and Administration because all of their IT Management System is on one platform.”
Phil Heap at FAST Ltd concluded that cultural change also needs to happen with policy an important driver.
“To make organisational culture change, it has to come from the top and you have to apply the law somewhere. But local things need to change to change things globally. From our point of view, managing your assets effectively is vital, and from a hardware and software perspective this is where we try to help. Technologies like Virtualisation are evolving and obviously licensing is evolving around it - which is why it’s important for organisations to get good advice from licensing experts. Not only to ensure they are compliant and not incur hefty fines, but also how they can become compliant with Virtualised solutions that are an enabler for Green IT initiatives in the future.”
To find out more about FAST Ltd’s professional consultancy and managed services, please visit FAST’s website: www.fast-compliance.co.uk or call 0844 815 5741.
Notes to editors
About FAST Ltd:
FAST Ltd, part of IRIS, is the UK’s leading authority on Software Asset Management and IT Compliance, providing software, education, consulting and managed services. For over 24 years FAST Ltd has helped over 8,000 organisations control their IT costs, mitigate risk and deploy best practice IT using expert impartial and independent advice.
The FAST Compliance Programme focuses on helping organisations achieve ‘best practice’ in IT and software compliance. The business supports its 2,700 customers to reach and maintain The FAST Standard for Software Compliance (FSSC–1:2007), a private Standard which was developed in collaboration with BSi. The FAST Standard also addresses a significant proportion of the requirements of ISO/IEC 19770-1, the International Standard for Software Asset Management. The Federation Against Software Theft Investors in Software (FAST IiS), which aims to combat software piracy, endorses the Standard.
FAST IiS, which is a not for profit organisation limited by guarantee is owned and funded by its members – software publishers, solicitors, IT resellers etc. FAST Ltd has a mandate from FAST IiS to advise and help UK organisations on the issue of software compliance and promote the legal use of software and it is the only organisation that meets the FAST IiS’ mandate.
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