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
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.
"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
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
"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
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.