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Posted by Doug Washburn on June 25, 2009
Consider the following questions posed by Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist and author of The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, and more recently, Hot, Flat And Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution - And How it Can Renew America:
“Was it an accident that Citibank, Iceland’s banks, and the ice banks of Antarctica all melted at the same time?”
“Was it an accident that Bear Sterns and the polar bears both faced extinction at the same time?”
In Friedman’s eyes, no, the recent economic and environmental woes are not accidental or coincidental. He explains that what the “great recession represents, if that what we can call this economic moment, is that both the market and Mother Nature hit wall at same time.” How? Because, according to Friedman, we’ve been using the same accounting system in both worlds that has massively under-priced risk, privatized gains, and socialized losses:
Check out Friedman’s recent interview on his upcoming revision to “Hot, Flat And Crowded” with environmental news and commentary hub, Grist.org:
What should IT leadership takeaway from this?
In short, connect Friedman’s notion of a poor accounting system — that has caused financial and environment woes — to how you account for your own IT.
In a time when wringing out every unnecessary cost counts more than ever, the majority of us are still guilty of not accounting for IT’s true cost of ownership. According to Forrester’s findings, only 4% of North American and European firms pay for the energy-related operating expenses of IT, not to mention the energy-related carbon emissions. And as a result, opportunities for cost- and carbon-thrifty behavior are being overlooked. While the financial benefits might flow to someone else’s bottom-line (e.g. facilities, real estate), your overall organization will profit.
Viewing your IT through a “green” lens can help expose many of these hidden costs — financial and environment — that IT incurs but are paid for by someone else. IT leadership should take advantage of the challenging economic environment to employ guerrilla-style cost-savings tactics today that will lay the groundwork for a culture of responsibility to eliminate unnecessary spend into the future.
To help IT leadership get off on the right foot, my recent research — No Capex, No Problem: Eight "Guerrilla" Tactics To Reduce Facilities Costs Without Capital Investment — highlights a number of low-cost tactics to reduce the financial and environmental impacts of operating IT. Here is a sampling of a few of these tactics:
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