The Bottom Line

An IT department that decides to "Go Green" has the opportunity to save money for the company. To gain executive support for the time and expense to roll out this program, someone must build the business case for consideration. The compelling part of the business case will be the metrics - the measurements of how big an issue is.

A business case is a succinct picture of the challenge facing the company. It must contain a description of the problem and any relevant metrics that quantify it. If a solution is offered, it must include the expected benefits, the timeline for completing the solution, ad a budget for cash and other resources. For a business case to persuade executive leaders, it must demonstrate how it aligns with the company's strategies and how it helps the organization achieve it business goals. A properly assembled business case will enable a company to launch its Green Computing program with the appropriate level of executive support.

Once the magnitude of the energy issue is determined, people will be able to see the potential for a 10 or 20 percent reduction. These savings will always be welcome in an organization. The business case for keeping equipment for five years instead of three years provides additional savings. Finally, the cost avoidance for proper disposal is also important. Although proper disposal is more expensive than tossing surplus equipment in the trash bin, it also reduces the chances that the company will be fined (and publically embarrassed) by equipment that is disposed of improperly.

Implementing a Green Strategy takes time. Many companies adopt process improvements that quietly fade away. In the beginning, everyone is enthusiastic about the potential savings. They change their processes to conform to the current management climate, and everything is great. Then, after a few months, they begin sliding back into their old habits, and gains are gradually lost.

Therefore, Green Computing must become a part of the company culture. To do this, a Green Champion must be appointed to promote the program and to monitor the critical metrics used by management to approve the project. Company posters and newsletter articles are useful tools for reaching a large number of people. However, persuasion must be accomplished at the personal level. For this, departmental meetings addressing Green IT issues are more effective at changing behaviors. The Green actions must become an integral part of business processes.

Green computing requires a change in thinking and the values applied by companies toward areas of their business. It is not difficult to force employees to comply with the company's Green strategy - so long as the executive is present. The trick is to shift the employees and their managers' business decision process to always consider the impact on the company's Green program.

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