Good Economy or Bad, Green IT Continues to Flower

by Don Willmott

Back in 2007 and 2008 I had a great time contributing to a blog
about “green” technology. How invigorating and virtuous it felt to
tell the world about solar panels, windmills, electric cars, and all the great
new green jobs of the future. But then oil prices dropped, the economy went
south, and interest in all those wonderful – but potentially expensive – technologies
waned. In the end, the blog’s editors pulled the plug on me, pun totally

Green ITPerhaps all those green jobs are on hold for now, but
there’s still at least one vibrant sector in the eco-economy: green IT. The
ability to design, install, and maintain systems that are smaller but as
powerful as their predecessors, and that increase manageability while lowering energy
costs, continues to be in great demand. A
fresh survey
by Forrester Research
found that 47 percent of the IT professionals surveyed have green IT plans or
strategies in motion, while another 30 percent are considering at least one
project. Only 23 percent say they had no plans for some sort of green IT

The top three reasons given for looking into green IT: reducing
energy-related operating expenses, reducing other IT operating expenses such as
labor, and helping the environment. And how will those goals be achieved? By
consolidating data centers (here comes virtualization again) and by rethinking
PC power management. Forty-six percent of the respondents said such initiatives
are already under way, and 14 percent said they’ll head in this direction during

A similar Forrester survey from last fall found that 60
percent of enterprise respondents are interested or very interested in implementing
green IT. That compare with 51 percent a year earlier. A Forrester analyst
commented, “Despite the hesitancy about cloud computing, virtualization
remains a top priority for hardware technology decision-makers, driven by their
objectives of improving IT infrastructure manageability, total cost of ownership,
business continuity, and, to a lesser extent, their increased focus on energy
efficiency.” The bottom line: Forrester projects that the $500 million spent
on green IT services in 2008 will grow to $4.8 billion by 2013.

And by the way, we’re behind Asia
on all this. Over there, about 40 percent of companies aren’t just
whiteboarding green IT solutions but are already adopting major changes, such
as green RFPs and shortened IT refresh cycles for energy efficient equipment,
according to Info-Tech’s  Global
Green IT Attitude & Action survey

My point is that green IT isn’t some crunchy fad that’s
blowing in the wind. It’s very much for real, and it’s a career path with
potential. (Take a look at these articles I write for Dice’s Careers in Technology: careers
in green IT
, how
to make IT environmentally friendly
, and where
the green jobs are

If you still need to be convinced, spend half an hour with,
a rich site filled with articles by IT experts who explain all the latest
trends in efficient computing and how they are optimally implemented. Their
collection of predictions
for 2010
will give you ways to think about leveraging your IT talents in
new directions that are in high demand. And please don’t scoff at the concept,
dismissing it as some flaky liberal claptrap. Remember that ultimately, green
IT isn’t about saving the planet. It’s about saving the company money, and
anyone who can do that is going to find success.