Green IT strategy has nebulous ROI. So why bother?

Computer Economics research shows only half of companies are reporting a positive ROI from Green IT initiatives.

Research firm Computer Economics has published a report indicating that the return on investment (ROI) for "Green IT" initiatives continues to hard to pin down.

According to the research firm's survey of more than 200 IT organizations, slightly less than half (47 percent) are reporting a positive ROI within a two-year time period. Another 30 percent said their Green IT efforts broke even, while 23 percent reported a negative ROI. The results are published in a report called "Green IT Taking Root Despite Uncertain Payback."

Oh-uh. So you may be wondering why your organization should bother. After all, if you can't prove a return on investment, chances are you're not going to do it.

Actually, another reality check is definitely in order: The survey ALSO shows that total cost of ownership (TCO) actually fell in line with the expectations of 70 percent of those surveyed, which means at least Green IT projects are reasonably predictable.

Of the folks surveyed by Computer Economics, 24 percent are already managing a Green IT strategy and 32 percent are considering adopting a policy in the coming months. As you might expect, the largest companies surveyed were mostly likely to have a Green IT policy in place. BUT small organizations (those with annual revenue of less than $350 million) were more likely to have a Green IT strategy than midsize companies ($350 million to $1 billion in size). Not surprisingly, small and large organizations were more likely to report a positive ROI for their Green IT efforts.

I would argue that pretty much every Green IT strategy demonstrates positive ROI, when you take into account things outside the actual IT budget, like shareholder value and overall corporate sustainability strategy. Or you factor in energy costs savings. It just takes a broader vision.

Here's a link to the executive summary for the report. There's also information at this site in case you want to purchase the whole thing.