by Chris Potts

Clean technologies – the strategic opportunity for the CIO

Mar 14, 20082 mins
IT Leadership

The emerging interest in clean technologies presents the CIO with a valuable strategic opportunity.  Whether she can take it depends upon how much people think she’s just interested in IT.

The last couple of decades have been a relentless, and sometimes tough, learning process for many businesses regarding how to create value by investing in and exploiting technology.  Now, as the IT market matures, another group of technologies – ‘green’ or ‘clean’ technologies – is being born that in the coming years businesses will also want to invest in and exploit.

Just like IT, there is likely to be high potential for reducing costs and creating value from exploiting clean technologies – while also helping to sustain and improve the world’s climate.  As the political, regulatory, financial and reputational environments increasingly expect, and incentivise, companies to invest in clean technologies, the corporate appetite for doing so will grow.

And this time, we have all of the lessons from investing in IT to draw upon.   We should be able to avoid getting caught up in any hype, stay focused on our own investment strategies, and maintain the best balance between the interests of the customers of technology and the people who develop and supply it.

Who represents the core of our learnings from investing in IT?  The CIO.  Who better, then, to lead us into and through a strategy for investing in and exploiting clean technologies? 

The opportunity is there for each CIO to significantly extend their scope and contribution, from investments involving to IT to those involving clean technologies. 

The main obstacle will be if the CIO and her senior team are perceived as being only really interested – and competent – in investments involving IT.  If, as a CIO, there’s any danger that you’ll be perceived that way, there’s still time to act….