Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Green Information Technology Challenges

It was my pleasure to host a "Thought Leader Group" at the Arctic Survey Control offices last Friday. Under the rules of our get together the names of those present are protected to save the innocent but suffice to say they are all experts in their field and trailblazers in their current operational roles. Senior executives from a range of consulting, corporate and IT technology businesses attended to discuss their current challenges and developments.

The location was completely relevant. As you know The Catlin Arctic Survey team will be delivering data on the melting icecap to the UNFCCC later this year.

Our guests are all involved in the delivery and deployment of green initiatives from a wide variety of areas. I think it gave them pause for thought and perhaps a dawning realisation that we really must unplug the “verbiage” and crack on with the solutions. This is extremely difficult in the current climate when most CEOs have survival rather than green on their minds. However, most of our audience knows that energy efficiency is about cost and survival.

We heard comment that the polar icecap could be gone (or at least seasonal) by 2013 – a bit of a wake-up call for many present – many people have weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and even round the world sailing sabbaticals planned. When you hear these kinds of statements it brings the planet’s situation sharply into focus. What would the consequences be of a complete melt by 2020 say? (20 – 40 years was quoted in the recent BBC’s Nature’s Greatest Events by David Attenborough… Hmm, some in the know would challenge that).

So anyway – the climate change consulting arena is busy “strategising” behind the scenes. Meanwhile at the coal face, and clearly from the individuals we met with, there is huge challenge surrounding the MIS (Management Information Statistics) behind energy consumption. There appears to be a real log-jam on technology products in the market that can flex to the different and evolving energy streams (not just oil, gas and electricity). Although some have some exciting cross functional products emerging.

The CIO/CTO Government Green IT Strategy has been released but needs now to be pushed by CIOs and CTOs. There’s still little progress from the C Level suite to hold IT responsible for its housekeeping. Easily sorted – set department and personal targets to aid areas of the company where most need. It’s obvious to me that the IT guys are incredibly able and clued up to assist. IT in general still looks to be suffering the same problems as last year I'm afraid – and that is they are not engaging with Facilities, Finance, CSR etc. I guess it can be argued that they don’t know where they can help and until someone pulls them out of the server cupboard and gets them around the table with the other green project managers – they actually would enjoy the ride … most of them I think anyway!

Worryingly there appears to be no real progress in-house on the Carbon Reduction Programme roll out either. Cue – mad scramble in Q4 of this year.

I know from my market conversations that some organisations, including local authorities and architects (worryingly), have a very short cited “just give me a couple of simple PV units for the roof and the bare minimum to meet the requirements” attitude – cost is again a barrier – perhaps we need some Obama style stimulus.

Utilities businesses (and this is my personal view) are challenged with meeting their major business customers’ needs for “consumption information”. Can they deliver holistic consultancy beyond Usage & Billing platforms? Will this see a swing from the utility mindset to customer focus solutions partnering?

Debby Lloyd
Managing Director, EcoSearch

No comments:

Post a Comment