Green IT: the Global Benchmark Report reveals lack of Green IT maturity

Date: Mon, 03/14/2011 - 19:42 Source: Fujitsu press department

Fujitsu recently announced its research report Green IT: Global Benchmark, which contains findings of the first multi-country survey to determine the maturity of Green IT practices and technologies in large IT-using organizations in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia and India

Green IT: the Global Benchmark Report reveals lack of Green IT maturity Masami Yamamoto, president, Fujitsu Limited

Sponsored by Fujitsu, the maturity assessment enables comparisons of Green IT activity across industry sectors and by country. It sought to quantify current practices to better understand the role IT can take in enabling sustainable business models for the future and will be measured over time to determine the extent of improvement. The report provides a number of valuable insights into the comparative performances of Green IT.
The most significant finding in the report was that, while Green IT has been highly topical in the last five years, real progress and action has been slow. The report quantifies the relative lack of maturity of Green IT policies, practices and technologies -- in every industry sector and in the four countries.
For every aspect of Green IT, there is significant opportunity for improvement. The two best performing areas are Enterprise, which includes data centers, networking, communications, cloud and software architecture, and End User including personal and departmental computing and printing. At the bottom of the scale was Metrics, which is hampered by the lack of measurement of even the most basic aspect of IT department power consumption and billing, and supports the adage you can't manage what you don't measure.
Enablement, the use of IT to improve performance and reduce the carbon footprint outside of the IT function, also scores low, and this is a particular concern given the immense benefits IT can deliver to society. IT leaders need to do more to educate their businesses about the many benefits of enabling technologies, and this measure needs to improve significantly in order for IT to deliver on its full potential.
Alison O'Flynn, Global Executive Director Sustainability, Fujitsu Group, said: "Tomorrow's business leaders will be leaders in sustainability; they will understand the importance of an integrated sustainability strategy. IT has a fundamental role to play in enabling change and must step up to face this significant global challenge."
"Fujitsu is calling on ICT industry forums, user groups, professional bodies and corporate social responsibility board members to use this research to energize Green IT action."

Report highlights key issues in Green IT
• Overall Green IT maturity is comparatively low with the index across all industries in all countries rated at 56.4 (out of 100). The findings show that Green IT practices and technologies in most organizations are often quite rudimentary. It is possible to improve them substantially with comparatively little effort.
• The best performing country of the four surveyed is the UK, with an overall Green IT Index of 61.0. The UK has the most stringent carbon reduction and carbon reporting regimen of any of the countries, and awareness of Green IT is higher than in the other countries.
• The U.S. rated second, a function of the relative sophistication of IT usage in this country, followed by Australia, which was let down by its poor metrics, and India where end user Green IT is not widely implemented.
• There is consistently very low performance in the metrics that enable Green IT to be properly measured and monitored. Few organizations are measuring the impact of Green IT. The power bill for IT is only rarely included in the IT department's operational budget. Even in the U.S., the country with the highest IT power consumption visibility, only half the respondents knew how much power IT was consuming.
• Environmentally unsound IT procurement and ewaste practices remain widespread and performance is strongest where regulation exists.
• The report uncovered that there are significant differences by industry sector, with the best performing industry being ICT while the Wholesale, Retail, Logistics sector ranked the lowest. The relativities between industry sectors remain remarkably consistent across different countries -- the same industries tend to perform similarly in all countries, with a bank in the U.S., for example, likely to be more similar to a bank in India than it is to a manufacturing company in the U.S.
• Transforming intent into action requires a Green IT champion who is responsible for Green IT technologies and policies to achieve truly sustainable outcomes. In the countries surveyed, however, less than half the respondents have appointed a specific leader to the Green IT role.
• A whole-of-business approach to Green IT needs coordination which, to be achieved, requires dedicated leadership. Non-IT leadership of Green IT is important because it provides a broader perspective and is more likely to consider IT's important role as a low carbon enabler.
• The use of IT to improve performance and reduce the carbon footprint outside of the IT function rated very low, indicating the inward focus of many Green IT initiatives. There is significant potential by harnessing IT for wider sustainability activities.

In the U.S. the benchmarking process highlighted how, when usage can be quantified, advances can be made. The U.S. scored highly in its focus on data center development and energy efficiency, resulting from the 2006 EPA findings that identified data centers consuming 2 percent of the country's power usage.
Jim Bradbury, Vice President of Enterprise Business Services, Fujitsu America, said: "America has a long history of innovation and driving efficiency. It is exciting to see that American industry is embracing the cost savings and greater efficiencies garnered from Green IT. The next challenge for our industries is to identify and capitalize on the enablement technologies, as this is where the greatest business benefits and environmental savings can be found."

About the methodology
The research uses the methodology developed by Connection Research. The results allow the development of an overall Green IT Readiness index for IT-using organizations in any industry or country.

The methodology allows separate indices to be calculated for each of five key areas of Green IT:
• Green IT Lifecycle (Procurement and Disposal)
• End User IT Efficiencies
• Enterprise and Data Center IT Efficiencies
• Usage of IT as a Low-Carbon Enabler
• Green IT Measurement and Monitoring

The research was collected through the survey of organizations in most industry sectors across four countries, which asked respondents at CIO and IT senior manager level over 80 questions about their Green IT policies, behavior and technologies in each area.
A total of 638 responses were received across the four countries.

The downloadable report is available here.

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