Collaboration as a Key Enabler for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Implementing Green ICT

Collaboration as a Key Enabler for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Implementing Green ICT

Ioakim Marmaridis (IMTG, Australia) and Bhuvan Unhelkar (IMTG, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-834-6.ch017
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Abstract

Global competitiveness through advances in ICT is giving SMEs abilities that up until a few years ago were inconceivable. Along with increased market reach and added impact SMEs also begin to feel the pressure of becoming more ecologically friendly. Therefore, they need to establish Green ICT practices within their businesses. While these practices are relatively better resourced in large businesses, SMEs find it rather challenging to implement Green ICT practice because of their size and amount of resources they can put behind such initiative. This chapter describes how collaboration can be used as a key enabler for SMEs adopting Green ICT for their operations. Green ICT improvements are presented in the context of people, process and technology framework and individual solutions are offered along with their benefits that SMEs can readily adopt and begin their transition towards Green ICT.
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What Drives Smes Towards Green Ict?

There are number of factors that drive a business to adopt and embrace green ICT initiatives. These initiators have been discussed in the past by Unhelkar and Dickens (2008). Four such specific initiators that propel an organisation to develop and implement an environmentally responsible strategy are the social and political pressure, rules and regulations, enlightened self-interest and a responsible collaborative business eco-system. These are discussed next in the context of an SME, as also shown in Figure 1:

Figure 1.

Drivers for environmental responsibility in small and medium business (based on methodscience.com)

  • Social & political pressure: when there is pressure on an organisation from the society in which it exists, then the organisation is forced to consider environmental strategies. Social pressure can come in from the marketing department that wants to differentiate the products or services, the education system that enforces green values in the upcoming generation, or the political pressure from the electorate. However, such pressure is not legally binding, but relies on the ability of a collective opinion to enforce good corporate citizenship.

  • Rules and regulations: Government environmental legislation that makes it legally mandatory for a company to implement environmental measures within their business operations further enforces the generation of environmentally responsible strategy.

  • Enlightened self-interest: when an organisation, on its own accord, realizes the need to be environmentally responsible, and creates or adopts a green strategy. This initiator can also be cost driven or driven by the need to have brand recognition or even be driven by the need for business continuity

  • Responsible Business Eco-System: when the entire eco-system of the industry and the environment in which an organisation exists, including its business partners, suppliers and customers are all creating and implementing green ICT initiatives; being part of such a business eco-system enforces an organisation to follow suit or be left out.

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People, Process And Technologies For Sme’S Green Ict Effort

Examining Green ICT initiatives under the standard ITIL framework of processes, technology and people, one can see how SMEs lack in all three to turn Green ICT into reality for them and why it still remains largely an elusive goal. Figure 2 graphically represents the three areas SMEs can leverage to accomplish IT operations that are Green and therefore give them the benefits that other organisations are realizing from this accomplishment.

Figure 2.

Examine Green ICT improvements for SMEs in terms of people, processes and technology

Key Terms in this Chapter

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): Businesses that are typically less than 200 people strong whose physical presence is limited to a small geographical region.

Green ICT: Green Information and Communications Technology stands for a set of initiatives organisations undertake in order to reduce carbon emissions and their carbon footprint produced by their information and communication systems.

Collaboration At All Levels: Collaboration defined in the context of business where people within a business, external contractors and other vendor staff and ultimately clients share information and participate in common business processes for the purpose of work.

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