Throughout this year, various of my sources who like being cynical about these sorts of things proclaimed to me that if the economy went south, green technology spending would go south with it. Not so, I protested, going with my gut but with no quantifiable data to back me up.
Fortunately, both IDC and Forrester Research have come to my rescue, as has AFCOM, an association made up of data center professionals. All three have released data over just the past several days that underscores a continued interest in green technology that comes not just in spite of the bad economy but, in some ways, because of it.
Forrester's report, which I managed to read in full, covers more than 1,500 IT executives at more than 1,000 companies. The companies were mainly large enterprise accounts, but fully 20 percent were much smaller businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The survey was conducted in October, which is interesting in that it was AFTER the stock market's nosedive started wreaking havoc on business confidence.
The most compelling high-level takeaway is the fact that more than half of the respondents (52 percent) now are implementing or writing a green IT plan, up from 45 percent in the survey Forrester conduct six months ago. What's more, slightly more than half the respondents said the economy would have no impact on their plans. In fact, twice as many said they would accelerate their efforts as those who said they would put the brakes on green IT. (10 percent vs. 5 percent) Approximately 38 percent predicted they would maintain their current project pace. Of course, you can do the math, too: Almost half the respondents suggested that it was too early to make a statement about the economy's impact on green IT spending, which is concerning.
Here's a chart summarizing some of IT executives' top motivations for going green. Nothing really surprising: controlling energy-related costs still remains a primary driver.
Another major, major factor, especially for anyone out there reading this who comes out of the IT solutions channel, is that 59 percent of IT executives now include green considerations such as materials, operational features and disposal policies when buying new IT products. That compares with just 25 percent in April 2007. If you dig a little deeper, approximately 66 percent of the survey respondents consider such criteria "somewhat important" while 31 percent perceive them as "very important" in purchasing decisions.
- A separate study by IDC's Industry Insights companies, which surveyed more than 350 North American companies about their sustainability initiatives and increased budget support for green technology. Approximately 47 percent of the respondents across all industries reported that they plan to buy new applications in order to support corporate green projects; another 39 percent intend to contract with a consulting organization to help with implementation.
- And, finally, a survey of the AFCOM membership found that 78 percent of data center managers expect their 2009 IT budget for data centers to result in an increasing in greening initiatives. Most notably (no surprise), power consumption and cooling will become an even greater factor in buying decisions among 86 percent of the membership.