Sustainability now has a seat at the IT table

79% of IT leaders are willing to pay a premium for a vendor that is pursuing and incorporating sustainability into their business model, according to CloudBolt study.

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IT leaders have grown an environmental conscience. Seventy-nine percent are willing to pay more green to go green and would pay a premium to vendors incorporating sustainability into their business model, according to a newly released study from CloudBolt Industry Insights.

Specifically, 27% would pay 6% to 10% more—with 35% saying they would pay between 11% and 15% more, the study found. The research was based on responses from over 250 global technology leaders, CloudBolt said.

The majority of IT leader respondents (68%) said sustainability goals are a top-down mandate, formulated by either the executive team or board of directions, the CloudBolt study said. As a result, 79% of them said they are on the hook for helping their companies achieve specific sustainability goals.

SEE: IT Data Center Green Energy Policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Further, 67% of respondents said they definitely take a cloud vendor's sustainability initiatives into consideration when deciding whether to do business with that vendor.

The report noted that while sustainability has emerged as a growing priority for IT leaders, the three most critical areas they need to manage are security (90%), cost (76%) and agility (67%).

How to get there

Green is driving a rethinking of cloud provider choices: Those doing the most to address sustainability and green initiatives are AWS (41%), Azure (31%) and GCP (9%).

A growing green conscience is influencing IT and cloud ops: 78% of respondents agreed that the day-to-day activities they undertake in public/private cloud choices they make can materially affect the environment for better or worse.

When it comes to day-to-day operations, cloud management platforms help enterprises meet and exceed their sustainability goals by significantly reducing the amount of energy required to conduct many business processes, CloudBolt said.

Shadow IT reduction: According to Gartner, nearly 40% of IT spending goes to shadow IT. Without proper guardrails and role-based access control in place, workloads can spiral out of control and increase the carbon footprint. With a CMP, IT Ops can set cost, compliance and security guardrails for workload deployment, while giving developers the so-called easy button for anything-as-a-service.

Continuous cloud cost optimization: According to the 2021 State of FinOps report, the No. 1 pain point for FinOps teams is getting engineers to take action. Look for a CMP that continuously notifies FinOps of real-time cost issues and optimizes across AWS, Azure, GCP and VMware environments. This can result in faster, greener outcomes—without the need for spreadsheets, analyzing gigabytes of Excel data, and chasing down developers to shut down workloads.

DevOps enablement and CI/CD optimization: According to another recent CloudBolt Industry Insights report, only 11% of enterprises consider their continuous infrastructure/continuous deployment (CI/CD) reliable. Unreliable infrastructure leads to failed CI/CD pipelines and process restarts.

This leads to wasted energy and higher carbon footprints, CloudBolt said. With continuous infrastructure testing, DevOps professionals can detect infrastructure issues before failures occur, thereby optimizing resources and usage across CI/CD and minimizing energy waste.  

SEE: Computer Equipment Disposal policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Sustainability pays off

A concrete focus on sustainability is paying off. Companies that prioritize sustainability initiatives also see operational improvements, which directly translate to higher cash flows, the report stated.

CloudBolt cited a study by Oxford University and Arabesque that showed in the overwhelming majority of companies (88%) that focused on sustainability, both operational performance and profits improved.

The sustainability study showed that "technology leaders do care about the long-term impact their enterprise operations have on the environment,'' said Bernard Sanders, co-founder and CTO of CloudBolt, in a statement.

In a final call to action, the report said that "IT/cloud sustainability is a collective effort and each player in the cloud ecosystem needs to play its part. Saving the planet for future generations has to be the result of many contributions from responsible, forward-thinking companies and the people who work for them."

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By Esther Shein

Esther Shein is a longtime freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in several online and print publications. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of Datamation, a managing editor at BYTE, and a senior writer at eWeek (formerly PC Week)...