IT's not easy being green

Corporate leaders want to see some ROI before moving forward

Most large companies haven't written green criteria into their companies' buying process, according to a report by Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc.

Forrester surveyed 124 IT operations and procurement professionals in North America and Europe and found that while 85% said environmental factors are important in planning IT operations, only 25% said they have written green criteria into their purchasing processes.

However, leading technology vendors such as Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Dell Inc., EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, Intel Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. are spending money on green initiatives such as energy-efficient servers, data center power and cooling products, cleaner manufacturing, and device recycling programs, according to the report, "Tapping Buyers' Growing Interest In Green IT."

"Our customer survey and interviews provide a directional view into the nascent green thinking of enterprise IT organizations," Forrester Research senior vice president Christopher Mines said in the statement. "We heard two reasons why green matters: efficiency and corporate responsibility. Most IT decision-makers told us that a green purchase would only happen in the context of cost reduction. These are hard-headed, ROI-driven business decisions."

According to the survey, IT buyers want to hear more about vendors' efforts to make and sell more environmentally responsible products and services, and most respondents said they expect green to affect purchasing decisions in the future.

Only 15% of the IT professionals surveyed said they have a high level of awareness of vendors' green initiatives, and most said they wanted to hear more about green initiatives from vendors. In addition, they want to know about the ROI of these green products and services.

"Technology marketers today will find increasingly receptive audiences for green evangelism," said Mines. "Slowly, that receptivity will translate into action on the part of enterprise IT organizations."

Forrester said technology companies need to tell customers the environmental as well as the cost benefits of buying green products and services. The vendors also need to get their messages out to their customers and fine-tune those messages for particular customers, according to the report.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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