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« Green IT » needs marketing to develop

« Green IT » needs marketing to develop

Most companies implement an environmental agenda and communicate their policies on sustainable development. One of the key points of this policy is a job that requires attention: the information technology (or IT).

This action area is the « Green IT ».

The challenge presented is sizable. Green IT embodies the realization of a new economic paradigm. It suggests the emergence of new markets and new practices and real marketing opportunities.
Product Managers decrypts these issues for you.

Green IT, a concept from ignorance

The concept of Green IT or Green Computing emerged in the early 90s. Simple marketing concept at first, it became over time an industry and economic trend.

An initial assessment shows that IT is a major consumer of energy resources. The carbon footprint generated is consistent. It represents 2% of global emissions, as much as air traffic (Gartner).

Power consumption represents 10% of the budget of the ISD (Information Systems). Nevertheless, the energy performance of all the equipment is not optimized.

The second observation reflects the waste associated with computer explodes.

Concerning personal computers :

  • In a few years, their lifespan has decreased from 6 to 2 years.
  • 30 years, 1.8 billion PCs have been produced and the current fleet is expected to double by 2010.
  • Constituents pollute and are found in nature because of the absence of the recycling efficiency.
  • Making a PC requires 260kg of fossil fuels, 22kg of chemicals and 1500 liters of water (Source United Nations University).

These findings are arguments for the « Green IT » operations

 Why go green computing today?

Many reasons induce companies to move to green IT. The findings above have definitely helped to initiate the phenomenon, but the explanation of the boom is elsewhere. The promises of financial gain, process optimization, improved social relations and compliance with the charter companies:

  • Energy savings: In addition to the conservation of resources, it is mainly the financial savings that motivate the companies. The whole chain is affected, infrastructure, servers, data center, workstations. Since the hardware design to the optimization of usage.
  • Improve processes: improved user comfort and safety, saved time and productivity, facilitated trade. Eg. installation of systems performance videoconferencing can achieve these goals.
  • Manage ethical pressure from consumers and the public, or the conviction of leaders.
  • Comply with legislation on environmental
How marketing appropriates the phenomenon

Beyond the ethical and regulatory constraints, 82% of companies consider sustainable development as an axis of differentiation and value creation (source Accenture). This provides a double opportunity. First, to consolidate existing markets and second, penetrate new segments still under-exploited.

The sustainable development actions create value by 70% of companies (source Accenture). This will help to develop the uses and to implement new practices.

Marketing, in this context, has an important part to play in encouraging the orchestration of all efforts and their impacts. The implementation of actions at strategic and operational marketing in an innovative context is to consider highly.

Let’s look at a concrete example of a client of Product Managers which illustrates this.

The company sells a software solution collecting data on the use and performance of the information system through the workstation.

It is by putting the marketing at the center of strategic thinking that the leader knew how to create measurable value for its customers.

The COO of the company, said: « The position of our solution, originally, was the application performance monitoring. This proposal was the description of what is the tool. We implemented a marketing strategy to go beyond this simple technical description. We have studied our market, competition and customers’ needs. Today the positioning of our solution is the optimization of the workstation. We have moved from a position based on what the tool is to a position based on what our customers are making with the tool.
Among the optimizations available, reducing the environmental impact is at the heart of the concerns of companies and at the heart of our positioning”.

The results of this marketing action are conclusive: « Today the solution is perceived as a » Green IT « : the energy-saving optimization of life cycle of PCs … » […]  » The company currently has more than 50 customers, sales multiplied by 7 in 5 years and our forecasts for 2009 are excellent.  »

Results, but still a long way…

Green IT policy within companies is a new phenomenon but it bodes a boom in the coming years. CIOs are increasingly involved in sustainable development activities.

Like any change, the introduction of new uses related to « Green IT » will take time. And even if the communication on the subject is relayed by numerous media. A simple query on a search engine proves it. Among this, a lot of blogs and website are now dedicated and some of them are references : Greenit.fr, greenit.lemondeinformatique.fr …

In this area where everything still has to be done, marketing has a special place. Marketing’s challenge is to support and orchestrate efforts to maintain the growth of interest in Green IT.

Companies have everything to gain. It is interesting to note that those who communicate on sustainability and Green IT are more valued than those who have not yet taken the plunge.

Catherine Kokoreff

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