Down to business: Forrester reports more companies looking to IT services firms for help on green IT strategy

Most businesses are still going it alone when it comes to figuring out their green IT projects, but Forrester Research reports that an increasing number of companies are turning to a professional services provider for help. Many of the usual suspects in the enterprise IT services business are morphing in response, including Accenture, Capgemini, Cisco Systems, Dell, Deloitte, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sun, Tata and Wipro.

Most businesses are still going it alone when it comes to figuring out their green IT projects, but Forrester Research reports that an increasing number of companies are turning to a professional services provider for help. Many of the usual suspects in the enterprise IT services business are morphing in response, including Accenture, Capgemini, Cisco Systems, Dell, Deloitte, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sun, Tata and Wipro.

Approximately 10 percent of the companies surveyed by Forrester's green IT analysts in October 2008 were engaged with an outside company, compared with 6 percent the previous year. Approximately 30 percent of the surveyed companies were considering a project with an outside consultant, compared with just 18 percent in the year-earlier survey. The base for October 2008 included IT professionals at 1,022 companies; the October 2007 survey was much smaller, with just 130 companies surveyed.

Forrester defines green IT services in the following way:

Consulting services that help enterprise IT organizations reduce their company's environmental impact by putting policies and practices in place that: 1) make IT infrastructure and operations more energy-efficient, and 2) help IT to enable sustainability improvements in business processes across the organization.

What interests me in Forrester's report is the fact that North American companies actually pulled back on green IT services spending, while companies from emerging markets such as Latin America, Middle East and Africa showed an increased interest in green IT planning. It should come as no surprise that utilty and telecommunications companies were the businesses most interested in figuring out a green IT plan, according to the Forrester survey.

Here's a chart from Forrester showing its projections of what companies are likely to spend on consulting related to green IT between 2008 and 2014.

Forrester believes that spending on green IT services could increase beyond these projections, depending on how some of the federal stimulus money dedicated to energy efficiency and smart grid buildouts winds up being spent. (There are roughly $9 billion, as an example, dedicated specifically to federal buildings and military facilities.)

Green IT services aren't limited to the data center, by the way. The various companies offering services in this area are working on everything from strategies to e-waste recycling and green procurement to helping companies understand tax benefits, utility rebates and regulatory compliance requirements.