Approaches and Initiatives to Green IT Strategy in Business

Approaches and Initiatives to Green IT Strategy in Business

Amit Goel (RMIT University, Australia), Amit Tiwary (Utilities Industry, Australia) and Heinz Schmidt (RMIT University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-834-6.ch011


Increasing resource consumption by business organizations is impacting the environment and resulting in changes to climatic patterns. The use of Information Technology (IT) and related systems are further contributing to sustainability issues and challenges within business. Hence it becomes imperative for enterprises to formulate their IT Strategies with green approaches in mind so as to reduce the environmental impact of their IT usage. This chapter discusses the issues and challenges in formulating such strategies with particular emphasis on architecture based approaches to green initiatives. A six step methodology for Green IT strategies for business is also recommended.
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Information Technology (IT) is an integral part of business in current environment. Increasing use of IT contributes significantly to the challenges of carbon emissions control within business. This chapter discusses the strategies and approaches an organization can adopt in terms of its IT usage that will help reduce carbon emissions, and is based on the doctoral research conducted by the lead author. The objective of this chapter is to understand the environmental issues and challenges in context of IT strategy and information systems. A review of relevant literature and discussion is followed by a six step methodology for Green IT strategies for business that also makes use of IT-based architectural approaches.

Table 1 lists various approaches to green IT. This list provides a comprehensive range of green IT initiatives that are focused on a specific aspect of IT and its relation to business.

Table 1.
Approaches to Green IT Strategy
Data CenterApproaches focusing on optimizing the resource utilization in data centers (Aronson, 2008; Courses & Surveys, 2008; Forge, 2007; Patterson, Pratt, & Kumar, 2006; Przybyla & Pegah, 2007; Raghavendra, Ranganathan, Talwar, Wang, & Zhu, 2008; Sukinik, 2006).
Reuse, Refurbish and RecycleApproaches focusing on reusing, recycling and refurbishing various components and equipments (Shevlin, 2008).
Tactical Incremental ApproachApproach focusing on incremental measures in IT Infrastructure (Murugesan, 2007).
Holistic ApproachApproach focusing on Green IT Policies in complete IT Lifecycle (Murugesan, 2008).
Architectural ApproachApproach focusing on making trade-offs and decisions at architectural level (Williams & Curtis, 2008)
Strategic ApproachApproach focusing on green strategic initiative as distinct from other strategic IT initiatives (Murugesan, 2007).
Deep Green ApproachApproach focusing on advanced green strategic initiative such as buying of carbon credits (Murugesan, 2007).
Total Sustainability Indicator ApproachApproach focusing on IT Architecture Framework with Sustainability View and Mathematical Modeling based on Game Theory (Goel, Tiwary, & Schmidt, 2010).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Green IT Readiness Index: The Green IT Readiness Index is a value arrived at by quantifying, and averaging answers to a survey across each of five aspects of Green IT. The Green IT Readiness Index allows a company to compare the evaluation of its own IT strategy with other companies or even the whole Industry Sector.

Total Sustainability Indicator Approach: An approach for Green IT Strategy which recommends using an IT Architecture framework with a Sustainability View and mathematical modeling of various attributes based on utility theory, with further manipulation of these mathematical models using Game Theory based approaches.

Sustainability Balanced Score Card: SBSC is an extension of The Balanced Score Card (BSC) approach (Kaplan & Norton, 1996) for incorporating green aspects in evaluation of strategy. The Sustainability Balanced Score Card (SBSC) integrates the three pillars of sustainability into a single overarching strategic performance measurement tool

Strategic Level Approach: An approach for Green IT Strategy in which green IT is achieved by strategic initiatives which are distinctive and distinguishable from overall IT initiatives.

Holistic Approach: An approach for Green IT strategy in which emphasis is laid on adopting green IT practices in complete IT lifecycle

Architectural Approach: An approach for Green IT Strategy which recommends greening by making decisions and trade-offs at architectural level because of interdependencies and complexities of information systems.

Tactical Incremental Approach: An approach for Green IT strategy in which an enterprise incorporates simple incremental measures in existing IT infrastructure and policies to achieve its greening goals.

Deep Green Approach: An approach for Green IT Strategy in which the enterprise undertakes deep green initiatives such as buying carbon credits, planting trees or using renewable sources of energy such as solar power and wind power etc. This is considered an extension of Strategic Level approach.

Greener IT Maturity Model (GIMM): GIMM is an assessment tool for evaluating strategic responses of an organization to climate change developed from Capability Maturity Model (CMM) concept of Carnegie Mellon University.

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