State CIOs Driven To Green IT by Budget and Energy Crises

ChannelWeb reports on the NASCIO 2008 conference.

State CIOs Say Budget, Energy Crises Are Forcing Green Initiatives

By Craig Zarley, ChannelWeb
10:33 AM EDT Thu. Sep. 25, 2008

Rising energy costs and looming budget crises have made consolidation and green technology initiatives top priorities for state CIOs in fiscal 2009, creating a potential boom for solution providers that can capitalize on the trends.

State CIOs attending the NASCIO 2008 annual conference in Milwaukee said consolidation and the expected savings in infrastructure and energy costs was their biggest priority for 2009. In an interactive poll of the 44 CIOs at the event, 46 percent said their top IT initiative for fiscal 2009 is consolidation, far outdistancing legacy software replacement, which came in second with 27 percent of the CIOs voting it their top priority.

Interesting at conferences lately I attended when asked if CIO gets the energy bill usually less than 10% raise their hands. With stats like above it would appear that many more CIOs are seeing the energy bill as cost reduction is a top theme for the Cx0s and they are looking at the electricity bill.

Server and data center consolidation are typical efforts.

Brian Rawson, chief technology officer for Texas, said his state is about 18 months into an 89-month consolidation plan. Prior to the consolidation efforts, Texas had more than 5,300 servers, 16 mainframes and 31 data centers. As a result of the consolidation plan, Texas will reduce the number of data centers from 31 down to two, he said.

"We sold the consolidation plan on savings, but we will sustain it on service delivery," Rawson said.

What's more, the rush to server consolidation among the states is seen as part of a broader green initiative that CIOs view as helping to drastically reduce energy costs, particularly in the data center environment.

Making points about Green IT being a mandate.

CIOs noted that green technology is no longer a fad or a political ploy. Ken Theis, Michigan's CIO, said that CIOs need to take a leadership role in pushing green technology and he even suggested that states appoint chief energy or "greening" officers. "We are at a crossroads," he said. "Green technology is something that is critical now but it is soon to be a mandate."

Consolidating printers and faxes made sense as well.

As part of Michigan's consolidation and green technology initiatives, Theis said the state has focused on peripherals as well as server consolidation. "One of the things we did was have networked multifunction printers," he said. "We were able to actually remove 8,000 disparate fax machines and printers from the system. Why do [consolidation]? Budgets are going to get tighter and energy costs are going to get higher. If we don't get in front of it today, it's going to take us along for the ride."

As it becomes less convenient to print and fax with fewer devices, it will help to drive down usage. One perspective to be green is it make it harder for users to print.  HP can’t be happy about going Green and saving trees by not printing.