I guess it is the prevailing wisdom that IT hasn't got a lot to do with the environment, short of cutting down on office lighting, dealing with toxic waste, and of course any personal contribution IT workers make as everyday citizens of the world.
But things are changing. I've noticed greening of the data center becoming much more prominent in the IT press of late - for example, a recent c|net news article on Squeezing green from the data center. Tackling the data center is probably the most obvious initiative because it is where there is a concentration of power usage (and wastage). Getting green can easily show quick bottom-line benefits.
Greening Enterprise Applications
However, I think there is perhaps a far more significant consideration for IT .. the role Enterprise application vendors should have in providing software that helps companies around the world manage their operations, not only to maximise profitability, but meet their environmental obligations (and hopefully show a bottom-line benefit as a result).
I posted on this topic the other week (Why SOX Won't Keep Your Feet Dry), so I won't rehash all the arguments here.
The bottom line is that I believe over the next few years, we'll find businesses looking to their Enterprise Application vendors to provide the leadership, best practices and solutions to help them manage profitable, green operations. Vendors that can deliver will win, those that can't will get side-lined.
Ironically, it's countries like China, which don't have the best environmental track record, that also have the most to gain, and given their projected growth rates are likely to be at the forefront of this trend. And a good thing that will be too!
NB: I'm at a workshop with a very large company in China this week, so I may have a chance the test this theory with their leaders. Maybe I'll get to post some reinforcement of this view ... or maybe a retraction and a rethink;-)
Rethinking Enterprise 3.0
Justin Kestelyn posted a good wrap of the Web/Enterprise-2.0 dust-up that's been feeding some good discussion in the Oracle blogs of late. But it's easy to lose the historical perspective. When all is said and done, is *2.0 such a big deal?
- Technically - web apps caught up with what client apps could do a decade earlier. Finally!
- Socially - the people seized the power of the new technology and began to drive their own agenda. Just as they always do. Remember the 18th century pamphleteers - the bloggers of their day?
I'm going to cast a different point of view here: the *2.0 debate will historically prove to be pretty irrelevant.
What really does matter however is Enterprise 3 - as in, the next stage of IT evolution that recognises software as a vital part of civilization's cability to address the environmental challenges of the 3rd millenia. For the sake of the planet and human society.