Gartner: Businesses take hiatus from green IT to save cash

Priorities are on direct cost cutting instead

Firms are diverting their attention away from green IT projects in order to save money during the recession, according to a Gartner report.

But the study, of 620 executives who handle green technology, demonstrated that businesses were still interested in some green schemes, especially if they offered quick cost savings.

Most businesses will continue to make green IT efforts, according to the survey, with 60 percent of European firms planning green initiatives. Around one third will dedicate over 15 percent of their IT capital budgets to green programmes.

Some 67 percent of European firms, including in the UK, said the recession had not made any impact on their green initiatives. But in the US, around a third of firms said green initiatives were less important to them than before the recession.

Many businesses saw being more green as an opportunity to save costs. But businesses should not mix green and cost cutting aims, Gartner said. Chief information officers "need to break down budget silos and consider the wider cost-benefits to the organisation" if they want their companies to achieve real financial benefits from green IT, it warned.

Firms will focus on green initiatives that result in quick cost cutting, Gartner said, such as those that improve energy efficiency. This year would be a "gap year for green projects lacking a short-term cost-cutting and efficiency focus", Gartner said. Only in the longer term would environmental sustainability be an important business issue, as tougher regulations kick in.

"The broad area of green IT covering areas such as carbon reporting and offsetting, videoconferencing and green procurement will continue to be a key pillar of IT strategy and architecture during the next 10 years," said Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner.

"Being green is definitely still a top 10 issue for businesses," he added. "But for the moment, unless it delivers a quick return on investment, green IT is very much second to cost containment and managing budgets."

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