IT Energy Bills Still High Despite Efforts And Pressure


The results of pan-European research reveal the gap between IT and facilities, as well as the recession, is hindering energy efficiency efforts

The IT department is often too busy just ‘keeping the lights on’ and too far removed from responsibility for their energy bills to meaningfully tackle pressure to be more energy efficient, a new survey had found.

Yet, nearly 80 percent of senior IT decision makers recently surveyed by independent researcher, Vanson Bourne reported that their companies spent up to a quarter of their total IT budgets on energy-related costs, compared to 44 percent surveyed last year.

The pan-European research from Brocade Communications polled 1,050 senior IT decision makers, of whom 67 percent also said the credit crunch had forced them to change they way operated on a day-to-day basis.

Overall, the respondents indicated they are currently having to focus on essential maintenance and replacement projects that deliver immediate return on investment.

But, at the same time, over half respondents stated they felt under pressure to reduce power consumption. Given the high proportion of spending on energy, nearly half (45 per cent) wanted to reduce operational costs, while 42 percent cited green policies.

A further 9 percent didn’t have the capacity or budget to exponentially expand their power network and 3 percent stated this pressure came from limitations forced on them by utility providers.

Indeed, half of the IT leaders said they were powerless to reduce their energy spend, as 50 percent stated energy budgets fell under the purview of facilities management.

Where IT departments managed their own energy budget, they were 50 percent more likely to be measuring IT power consumption compared to those who didn’t.

And, when asked why they didn’t have procedures in place to measure power consumption, 31 percent said it wasn’t a major issue, 33 percent said they had too diverse a range of products, 23 percent claimed consumption was the responsibility of another department, and 13 percent stated monitoring tools where too expensive.

The biggest barriers to implementing more energy efficient processes were cost, which was cited by 28 percent, followed by a lack of knowledge (22 percent), a lack of viable solutions (17 percent) or a lack of enthusiasm from management (15 per cent). Brand loyalty and lack of IT resource were both also cited by 9 percent.

“When we conducted this survey in 2008, ‘Green IT’ was seen as marketing hype but as this year’s research indicates businesses view it as a strategic concern,” said Ulrich Plechschmidt, VP EMEA at Brocade.

Paul Phillips, Brocade UK and Ireland sales director added: “Our research shows that facilities management owns the power budget in most cases, but that the IT department isn’t evaluating its power draw and effect on the organisation’s bottom line.”

The research was conducted across the UK, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Dubai and North America.