Conceivably, a company might not find a financial incentive for PC power management. "The only examples I could conceive that there would be little or no financial ROI is if the price per kilowatt hour is very low and the organization is already using a more energy-efficient form of computing, such as thin clients or laptops versus desktops or workstations," says Doug Washburn, analyst, Infrastructure and Operations, at Forrester.
However, you won't know until you measure it.
The question of ROI doesn't top the list of barriers to adopting PC power management, however. Rather, the No. 1 obstacle cited by 42 percent of the respondents was the lack of ownership. That is, no one in the organization is actually responsible for managing energy consumption of PCs, so no one is taking the initiative to rein it in. "This isn't surprising, since very few IT organizations actually pay the energy-related [operating expenses], and projects like PC power management become subordinate to other initiatives," says Forrester's Washburn.
The question of ownership can be quite complex, Washburn notes. "A number of roles need to be involved to successfully pull off PC power management," he says. "Those surveyed told us the CIO and even CEO need to grant approval, the CIO and/or VP of IT operations needs to provide funding, the enterprise architects and VP of IT operations should develop the specific policies, desktop managers and network managers are responsible for actual technical implementation, and the sustainability leader and CIO should be responsible for communicating results."
In a related vein, 22 percent of the IT admins surveyed said that "the financial savings [from PC power management] flow to another department's budget." In other words, "Why should I waste my department's resources when I don't get the payback?" As with the previous barrier, this reflects a cultural problem, one no doubt seen at many organizations.
Thus, buy-in from a senior executive, perhaps even the CEO, is essential, Washburn says. One compelling way to get that buy-in is to map out the potential savings and show them to someone influential. Pointing out that powering down PCs can spare the air 1.6 tons of CO2 per desktop per year might also help strengthen your case.
The second and third top barriers to PC power management seem to be connected: "Users will not tolerate any loss of productivity from PC power management" (39 percent) and IT is "not sure what approach to take or policies to put in place" (31 percent). These concerns aren't surprising, says Washburn: "IT pros are risk averse … and many are afraid of reducing user productivity."