PCs

CIOs turned off by power management?

Why the IT director isn't electrified by cutting energy costs

IT departments are resisting the rollout of PC power-management technology as they believe the downtime and productivity losses associated with implementing it are too great a risk.

And this opposition is likely to remain until IT can directly benefit from the cost savings that greater energy efficiency can generate, according to analyst house The 451 Group.

Power-management software allows desktop computers to be turned off remotely to ensure they aren't drawing power when not in use. This means PCs aren't left on overnight or when people don't come into work, significantly reducing energy costs and carbon emissions.

There has been an increase in the use of power-management technology in recent years, with several UK government departments now using the tech.

But IT managers have little knowledge of or responsibility for their organisation's energy spending - leaving the IT department with little incentive to roll out power-management tech.

"You would think most CIOs would be aware of the energy usage of their equipment given concerns about climate change and the financial downturn. But sadly, this is not the case. Only a minority of CIOs or IT managers will have visibility on the company's utility bill each quarter, and even an even smaller amount will have the systems in place to be able to quantify what contribution IT made to that," Andrew Donoghue, analyst at The 451 Group, told silicon.com.

Until IT departments have more responsibility for energy costs, the implementation of PC power-management technology is likely to be low on the agenda

Until IT departments have more responsibility for energy costs, the implementation of PC power-management technology is likely to be low on the agenda
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

As well as the lack of visibility around energy use, any energy cost savings made through PC power management will often show up in central business budgeting or facilities management rather than the IT budget. As a result, many CIOs have little direct incentive to implement power-saving technology.

"Until the company makes energy costs a budgetary responsibility for IT, CIOs are not going to overly focus on it," Donoghue said.

In addition, with the performance of IT departments often judged on their ability to limit downtime, any project that could potentially jeopardise this – such as rolling out power-management technology - is likely to be resisted, although Donoghue said such concerns about productivity are unfounded.

Despite these current obstacles, The 451 Group predicts companies will become more aware of the energy they use and make different parts of the business – such as the IT department - more accountable for their consumption.

"Rising energy costs and new green legislation, such as the UK Carbon Reduction Commitment, will focus minds on green approaches to IT including PC power management," Donoghue said.

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