Infrastructure and operations leaders should be now investing in green IT managers, not more technology and process improvement, to maximise value, according to Forrester.
Although the majority (nearly 70 per cent) of respondents to Forrester's April 2010 Global Green IT Online Survey reported that they were implementing sustainability projects, just 25 per cent said they had a comprehensive green IT plan in place.
This led to 44 per cent saying they had no defined ownership of green IT initiatives and 57 per cent saying they were dealing with too many competing priorities. Forrester said the lack of coordination produces results that are inconsistent, hard-to-measure and difficult to replicate.
However, the analyst said that the role of the green IT manager does now exist in some shape or form, in 32 per cent of organisations, and will continue to grow.
Reasons for the growth include the fact that IT often plays a critical role in the information-gathering, analysis and reporting for sustainability project. Furthermore, the scope of green IT is much broader. It is not just about procuring more energy-efficient hardware for the data center anymore, it also requires software and services to be leveraged, and processes and people to be aligned.
Forrester believes that green IT managers can deliver financial and environmental value by determining scope, developing project pipelines, justifying and prioritising spend and reporting successes of their sustainability activities.
Meanwhile, the green IT manager's success can be measured by tracking cost and environmental impact reductions, productivity improvements and revenue increases.
Forrester said that the green IT manager should fall under the responsibility of the infrastructure and operations (I&O) head because most green IT initiatives focus on data centres and distributed IT and communications technologies.
Qualities that the I&O leader should look for in their green IT manager include enthusiasm and knowledge for solving IT and business challenges using green solutions, and the ability to coordinate and motivate stakeholders across the business, especially the sceptical ones.
In addition, Forrester believes that individuals with broad technology backgrounds, coupled with the management skills required to justify their investments, rather than technologists with deep expertise in single areas, will make better green IT managers.
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