Green IT all about the bottom line

Nearly half of UK firms have green tech strategies in place, but they're more concerned with the bottom line than saving the world, a report from IDC has suggested.

The analyst firm surveyed companies around Europe, concluding that 46 per cent of UK firms have a green IT strategy in place, compared to 35 per cent around Europe and 51 per cent in Germany.

"Green IT has become a business imperative," said IDC analyst Nathaniel Martinez, largely because of increasing power and cooling costs as well as government regulation.

Indeed, cost cutting was the number one reason firms looked to energy efficient technologies, such as virtualisation, he said, adding that nearly half expected to have a solid return on investment before rolling out a green strategy.

Sustainability was much further down the list; Martinez said his research failed to find a "green warrior organisation" that was going green for ethical reasons.

But the cost savings can be huge, according to study sponsor Dell. European director of marketing James Quarles said his firm has cut energy use by 40 per cent by taking simple measures like turning off computers and monitors at night, saving as much as $1.8 million (1.18 million) annually across its 50,000 computer estate. The PC maker also virtualised 9,000 servers, saving $25 million (16.44 million) each year.

Martinez noted most IT departments have no motivation to cut energy use, as they don't pay the bills and often have no idea how much power their data centres are sucking up. The survey suggested three-quarters of UK firms don't have a clue about their energy consumption.

"You need to measure what you want to improve," Martinez said.

IT has a unique position in businesses to help cut energy use and emissions, as it reaches all aspects of companies, he added.

Click here for our top tips for green IT.