Green IT in high demand among IT buyers

Although interest in environmental stewardship has waned, companies continue to eye green IT to cut costs

Demand for green IT products has increased impressively over the past few years, according to new research from Forrester. Back in 2007, only 25 percent of companies had a list of green criteria for technology purchases, whereas 60 percent now have such requirements. Notably, the biggest driver for purchasing green is to cut costs, rather than to be a good environmental steward -- yet many companies are still struggling to find an ROI from embracing green IT.

Although both awareness of and demand for green IT products are high, economic hardships -- and perhaps some skepticism as to the true ROI of green tech -- pose significant barriers to adoption, according to the latest in Forrester's series "The State of Green IT Adoption. "Our survey found a significant jump (from 29 percent to 40 percent) in the number of companies stating that a lack of a clear business case or return on investment (ROI) is a factor in not having a plan in place," the report says. "Many companies remain cautious as the broader economy appears to slowly stagger out of recession, and budgets are likely to remain tight in the short to medium term."

[ Learn more about the ROI of green IT -- and discover the sustainability secrets of InfoWorld's 2010 Green 15 winners. | Keep up on green IT trends with InfoWorld's Sustainable IT blog. ]

Those companies that are embracing green tech are doing it for varying reasons. The top drive remains doing more with less: 79 percent of respondents said that improving IT efficiency was a high or critical priority.

Forrester also reports a "renewed emphasis on green criteria in 2010, driven partly by increased regulation (whether implemented or expected) and partly by pressure from buyers on their supplier ecosystem to comply with the sourcing standards laid out in their corporate sustainability strategies and goals."

Meanwhile -- likely a reflection of economic hardships -- fewer companies report they're embracing green IT for the sake of environmental stewardship, according to the report: That number has dropped from 50 percent in October 2007 to just 30 percent now.

[ Some companies report that green IT premiums are worth the cost. ]

The most widely adopted green IT initiatives within the data center, according to the report, involve virtualization and consolidation; 68 percent of the respondents said they've already embraced those technologies, while another 22 percent said they plan to do it by 2011. In a similar vein -- that is, freeing up wasted space and IT gear in the data center -- 30 percent of respondents said they're already eliminated redundant applications, and another 35 percent are planning to do so in the next two years.

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