Sustainable & Green: The Color of Money - InformationWeek
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9/30/2009
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Sustainable & Green: The Color of Money

Having worked with an organization that got good press for saving money through an automated PC shutdown program, I've fielded a lot of questions from IT managers looking to make sustainability and green moves. I can consolidate my advice on the topic into two short points: First, remember that green is the color of money. Second, overseed.

Having worked with an organization that got good press for saving money through an automated PC shutdown program, I've fielded a lot of questions from IT managers looking to make sustainability and green moves. I can consolidate my advice on the topic into two short points: First, remember that green is the color of money. Second, overseed.I've worked with a sustainability professional that has no roots in IT or finance, and I can tell you, good ones understand that money doesn't, well, grow on trees. And a sustainability program that focuses on dollar savings will have significantly more credibility with those humorless folks in finance and budget. After all, what is sustainability about? It's about conserving resources. What are resources? Ultimately, all we have is time and money. When you save time for people in the organization, you're ultimately saving money. When you save money for the organization, that makes those aforementioned finance and budget folks want to finance more green and sustainable activities. Which is, in a word, a sustainable way to approach your green programming.

When I get asked about PC shutdown programs, I honestly reply that this is just one aspect of systems management efficiency programs that I've worked on. It's a good idea not to put all of your eggs in one basket, because not everything you do in the systems management space is going to be a substantial home run. But if you "overseed" -- that is, invest in a broad and integrated portfolio of systems management tools -- you are more likely to have green success with one of them.

Tempted to cobble together free tools by surrounding them with home-brewed scripts? Been there, done that, found it's penny-wise, pound-foolish in many cases. "Please consider the environment before creating carbon footprint surrounding your write-once, use-once scripts."

There are lots of management appliances and software packages out there. Don't pick one just because it does PC shutdown in a particularly sexy way. Pick something that makes sense for your organization in the long run; remote control and remote software deployment contribute to sustainability and carbon footprint just as much as PC shutdown does, and the money saved is just as green. Think creatively!

Jonathan Feldman is an InformationWeek Analytics contributor who works with IT governance in North Carolina. Comment here or write to him at jf@feldman.org or @_jfeldman on Twitter.

Read more about IT governance at governance.informationweek.com

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