Intel, Microsoft, Sap Unveil Lean, Green IT Toolbox

One of the most appealing features of green IT, and a reason why it is quickly becoming top-of-mind for businesses of all stripes, is that to a large extent it doesn't require any rethinking of how a company operates. The bottom-line message of green IT is that it saves money and improves efficiency, a message that executives are always open to, especially in rough economic times.

Yesterday, a host of organizations including industry giants, consultancies and universities, unveiled the IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT-CMF), a roadmap aimed at an organization's management that both simplifies the decision-making process for CIOs but also maximizes the business value of IT.

The Framework was developed through the National University of Ireland at Maynooth's Innovation Value Institute, and among the members of the consortium behind the framework are Intel, Chevron, Microsoft, SAP, British Petroleum, Ernst & Young, and the Boston Consulting Group. At its core, the Framework takes existing best practices and opens them to real-world innovation, with the constant goal of making sure that companies can get the most value from their IT dollar.

Overall, the IT-CMF categorizes 36 core business processes and categorizes them under four management groupings -- managing IT like a business, managing the IT budget, IT capability, and managing IT for business value -- to cover all activities in an IT department. The assessment based on those processes will help highlight where a company can both clear up gaps in efficiency and identify new opportunities to gain extra value from the IT department.

The diverse backgrounds of the organizations involved shows the broad appeal of IT efficiency in the current climate. IT industry leaders like Intel, SAP and Microsoft are obviously heavily invested in green IT, but any large business -- especially those on the scale of Chevron or Ernst & Young -- has begun looking at the ways that IT can be harnesses both to save money and stop wasting it.

Whether using remote-meeting technologies to cut down on business travel, installing power management software to cut down electricity usage at workstations, or virtualizing or otherwise optimizing data center facilities, green IT strategies have been making increasing inroads into businesses that are not otherwise environmentally engaged.

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