IDC: Sustainability pressure hits IT managers hardest

More imaginative use of technology needed, analyst says

The pressure to achieve business efficiency and sustainability is piled on IT managers more than anyone else in business, according to a new IDC survey.

Seventy four percent of managers involved in sustainability said IT managers are given the main responsibility, the survey found. Some 68 percent said senior management also addressed the issue, but IDC highlighted this was falling as immediate financial concerns took precedence in the recession.

Facilities and business operations management played a role in 58 percent and 56 percent of businesses respectively, according to the survey of 150 managers in the UK.

Speaking at IDC's ICT Efficiency and Sustainability Conference in London, Chris Ingle, research director at the analyst house, said IT managers needed to take effective actions to meet the challenge.

"The big area you need to focus on is improving workflow," he said. "After that you also need to make your datacentres more modular, you need better data and asset management, and a change in client device strategies."

Traditional views on sustainability had been focused on hardware recycling and use, the impact of services, and data deduplication and power management, he said.

Ingle said the mindset that green IT managers needed was "how IT can contribute to reductions across the business and not just within the IT department itself".

"There are opportunities for further efficiency," he said, "with more extensive use of IT across the enterprise."

"From next year, the focus will start to be on achieving improvements in area-specific ways, including industry, transport, energy and buildings," he explained. "It won't just be a question of measuring individual devices, datacentres, and offices."

Intensive use of sustainability-focused IT across the UK's businesses could also help the country meet its national carbon reduction targets, he predicted, by contributing to vast changes in energy generation and distribution; building, lighting and heating; transport and industrial processes.

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