IT Has Great Green Expectations for Obama

By Pedro Pereira  |  Print this article Print


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The channel is anticipating demand for eco-friendly practices and technology to grow after the new administration takes over.

When President-Elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office Jan. 20, he will do so amid great expectations. Seldom has a new administration entered the White House with so much weight on its shoulders.

The nation is counting on Obama to tackle a range of heavy issues, from health care to the Iraq war to the ongoing economic slump. As part of the latter, he will be expected to push investment in the development of alternative energy sources and the creation of so-called green-collar jobs.

In the IT channel, people will be watching how new administration policies will affect their business. Despite some trepidation about potential new regulations on taxation and workers' unions, there is a great deal of hope regarding the Obama administration's green efforts.

Those efforts might translate to higher sales of power-conserving technology, more efficient processors and applications and increased demand for server consolidation and virtualization. Incentives for telecommuting, already in place in several states, are likely to become more prevalent, creating yet another opportunity for the channel.

Read about EPEAT helping IT sellers get green.

"Under the Obama administration, you can expect green initiatives to move from being environmentally conscious and usually cost-saving programs, pursued by enlightened companies, to being aggressive mandates for just about everyone," says Gerald Blackie, CEO of managed services platform vendor Kaseya.

"This is good news for the environment and represents tremendous opportunity for MSPs and IT professionals who can demonstrate green expertise to significantly grow their business," he says.

Opportunity for MSPs (managed services providers) partly translates in setting policies for remotely powering up and turning off devices according to their use.

It is one of the many ways in which green has become the new black in the channel. It's hard to avoid it these days, nor should you want to. Even if you wanted to ignore it, chances are your customers won't let you. Study after recent study indicates that consumers and business buyers increasingly take the environment into consideration when buying technology products.

Forrester Research found recently that 59 percent of IT executives weigh green considerations such as materials, operational features and disposal policies when deciding on purchases. This compares to 25 percent in April 2007.

Meanwhile, 47 percent of respondents in an IDC study said they plan to buy new applications to support corporate green projects. Thirty-nine percent plan to hire an IT consultant to help with the implementation.

These numbers bode well for solution providers with green practices, while providing evidence to providers still on the fence about green that it's time to act. Going green may prove easier than you think, especially if you already are working with technologies that fit under the green umbrella.

Bob Laclede, vice president and general manager of government and education sales at distributor Ingram Micro, points out that green IT isn't a thing unto itself. It touches various aspects of technology and behaviors. The former includes virtualization and the latter, power conservation and packaging.

"I am encouraged that the new administration is realizing how important green is to America's future," says Laclede. "The IT Industry in general and the channel specifically have a responsibility to do our part in this movement."

Laclede says Ingram Micro encourages solution providers to learn about green IT, develop expertise in eco-friendly solutions and re-craft their sales pitches by emphasizing the ability to save money by going green.

"That is the one thing that every public sector CIO that we know wants to learn more about," says Laclede. "If a solution provider can go in and talk about how to help a CIO save money and do more with less, the CIO will listen. Green IT is a major part of that solution."

Paul Dippell, CEO of Service Leadership, a consultant to solution providers, points out several states are offering telecommuting incentives to employers. Georgia, for instance, gives employers tax credits of up to $1,200 per employee who telecommutes. "For many solution providers, this can be a significant portion of their technical and, possibly, sales work force," says Dippell.

Green IT, when considered in the entirety of what it stands to offer, may well be the best hope for a number of solution providers to weather the ongoing economic storm, especially with a new administration taking over that understands the importance of going green.

Pedro Pereira is a contributing editor for Channel Insider. 


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