CIOs need to show leadership in reducing ICT energy costs, says Ovum

Today is the day the Carbon Tax goes into effect, with many people and organisations bracing themselves for a hike in energy costs. But instead of waiting to get “wrapped up in ‘carbon red tape’”, CIOs need to step up and show leadership in reducing ICT energy costs for their organisations, says Ovum Australian and New Zealand research director, Steve Hodgkinson.

“It is imperative for CIOs to show leadership regarding the management of the CO2 footprint of the ICT infrastructure and applications,” he says.

“CIOs need to ‘eat their own dog food’, as the saying goes, by applying best-practice energy management to the ICT facilities so that they can demonstrate to the other executives that the ICT department has skills and knowledge in energy management systems which it can offer as a service to the line-of-business.”

Hodgkinson says CIOs need to be held responsible for their organisations’ ICT energy costs; to take charge of putting in initiatives to measure and manage energy usage.

“The first thing that needs to be done is for the CIO to be accountable for the energy costs of at least the major ICT facilities and to start measuring and making these costs transparent and then creating activities to shape behaviour to reduce energy use and to invest in more energy efficient infrastructure when the opportunity arises,” he says.

The research director suggests “new investment in monitoring, analysis, reporting and control systems” are required to manage energy usage.

He also suggests making greater use of the Cloud as a means to shift some of the burdens of managing energy usage and reducing energy costs onto suppliers.

“Large scale Cloud services providers are likely to be more efficient than most small-medium scale ICT facilities, so carbon pricing mechanisms are another justification for Cloud computing models," Hodgkinson explains.

“CIOs can show innovation by assessing the benefits of Cloud services for their organisations and moving appropriate services into the Cloud sooner rather than later – in effect outsourcing most of the ICT energy/emissions obligations to a Cloud service provider that is better equipped to cope with the challenges.”

Whatever the solution, he says the need to reduce energy costs will become more prominent in organisations and so IT leaders need to prepare for this now.

“CIOs need to prepare for the fact that there will be increasing pressure on organisations of all types to become more energy efficient – primarily to reduce costs," he says.

“As energy costs rise and as regulatory obligations increase, all organisations will need to manage their energy usage more closely to cut their energy bills and avoid regulatory compliance penalties.”

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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