Most Asian firms don't have green strategy

Whopping 90 percent of businesses in region still have not implemented green IT strategy, despite being aware of ability to increase ROI, Springboard finds.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

There may be widespread awareness that green IT can help improve returns on investment (ROI), but most businesses in the Asia-Pacific region have yet to implement a green IT strategy.

According to a Springboard Research survey released Wednesday, only 10 percent of companies in the region have formally established a green IT strategy. This finding emerged despite high awareness that green IT can help enhance a company's ROI and reduce its carbon footprint, the industry analyst said.

The study, which polled 1,200 decision makers in Australia, Greater China, India, Malaysia and Singapore, found that 60 percent of companies operating without a green IT strategy had plans to establish one within the next two years.

Jonathan Silber, Springboard's research manager, said in the report: "Green IT may not have yet reached the level of a strategic priority for Asian enterprises, but it is growing in importance and we see the trend shifting...to [become] a market in the next two to three years.

"The good news is that in spite of, and because of the economic crisis, a considerable number of companies are recognizing the value and payback of green IT initiatives."

Silbur noted that companies typically focus their green efforts on energy-efficient PCs, servers and storage systems, but virtualization--be it server, storage or desktop--will emerge as a key green IT initiative over the next year.

And while the desire to exhibit social responsibility and achieve business benefits were "prime motivators for going green", most enterprises regarded the reduction in energy costs as a more beneficial outcome than saving the environment, the study found.

One in five respondents said they did not establish a green IT strategy because it was not necessary, while the same proportion of respondents said they had other priorities to address. Among companies that had a green IT strategy, identifying the right skill sets was the main challenge, followed by concerns over implementation and budget.

In addition, almost 15 percent of companies said they did not know how or where to start, should they decide to look more closely at their green efforts.

Silbur explained that the varying definition of green IT between vendors, as well as the absence of unique and consistent green IT standards, caused a disparity in the understanding of green IT among Asian companies. To an extent, it also diminished the value of green IT efforts, he added.

"Fortunately, all this is changing now as business benefits of green IT are being formalized and standards being developed," he said.

According to Springboard, IBM led ahead of Hewlett-Packard and Dell Computer, in terms vendor mindshare with regard to green IT. However, survey respondents did not consider any one global IT vendor as the undisputed market leader with regard to green software, hardware, services and communications.

But, IT vendors that have strong green marketing campaigns have "substantial influence", among a large percentage of survey respondents, over their purchasing decisions and selection of an IT supplier. In another Springboard report, the analyst firm projected that green IT services in the region will grow to become a US$2 billion opportunity by 2011.

A separate poll conducted by security vendor, Symantec, revealed a more optimistic outlook on green IT adoption in the Asia-Pacific region. In its report last week, Symantec said 50 percent of 356 companies surveyed had implemented green initiatives. Some 97 percent of respondents said they were discussing plans for green efforts.

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