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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What is Green IT?

For a couple of years now we've been seeing talk of Green IT, and as early as 2007 management consulting giants Gartner and McKinsey were addressing Green issues as a major issue facing IT managers. The McKinsey report offers a concise statement of the issue:
The rapidly growing carbon footprint associated with information and communications technologies, including laptops and PCs, data centers and computing networks, mobile phones, and telecommunications networks, could make them among the biggest greenhouse gas emitters by 2020. However, our research also suggests that there are opportunities to use these technologies to make the world economy more energy and carbon efficient
So Green IT is really two issues: making information technology itself more energy efficient, and going beyond that to using IT to reduce the carbon footprint of other operations. Today's EnergyWise announcement by Cisco underscores the growing concern managers have in both these areas.

The EDS blog The Next Big thing devoted eight posts last autumn to an in-depth look at the idea of Green IT and lays out a path that considers both of these issues in detail, focusing on the green data center.

Many of these ideas seem more appropriate for a Google or Microsoft than for a medium-sized non-profit or association. Techsoup offers some suggestions for Greening the smaller workplace. These include virtualizing your servers to use fewer boxes, and using your technology to minimze travel.

Has your organization grappled with these issues? Have your solutions saved you money, added complexity, or both?

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