Friday, January 12, 2007

Green IT Auditing - The Seven Signs

With all of the recent changes in enviro regs and the push to run IT like a business, it's definitely time for your company to consider auditing your IT department with the green goal in mind - doing so will definitely save your company several percentage points on your IT budget, reduce risk, and improve your environmental policies. Green IT Audits often begins well, but then run into difficulties when mid level IT management realizes that head counts or budgets may be cut. In all probability, this will in fact happen, but as I have said before the best strategy is to reallocate these people to other, more interesting green business projects.

Be that as it may, your IT management probably saw this coming long before you did and could have built up a pretty good Maginot Line against an audit; ironically, the best prevention against this practice is to audit them regularly. Here are seven signs that you need to get moving on your green audit:

  • Refusal to be Audited - This takes many forms but the most common defense is that IT is too strategic, complicated and systemic to be evaluated (Bull.) Extreme cases might have helped the process along by keeping minimal records and have nothing projectized, where IT spending comes out of one big pot.
  • Budgets Keep Getting Bigger - You get routine requests for more hardware, software and people. These requests are typically made in a linear relationship with head count of the company, or with every new project that comes along. Generally, this is just an effort to expand existing maintenance functions.
  • Energy is Free - Claims that energy is a cost of doing business, not a specific IT cost.
  • Impenetrable - You have no idea what certain IT divisions do; they produce no measurable results or they work on projects that have no scope, schedule, or budget. These divisions usually have a couple of passive aggressive individuals running the show who aren't particularly keen on sharing their knowledge. In addition, their work is invariably proclaimed as "too complicated to understand", and/or with "immeasurable strategic benefits" to the organization.
  • eWaste Doesn't Happen - The focus is on recycle instead of reduce. In this case, your two or three year hardware cycle is justified by the fact that old equipment is donated to charities or employees take their old machines home.
  • Flock of Stooges - That IT promotion list is full of toadies who support anything their boss says, particularly in budgetary meetings. Really, they are just trying not to get fired.
  • Greenwash Aplenty - Claims are made that they are pushing the envelope of efficient IT, by providing such low-lying examples as double-sided printing, or getting rid of all the CRT monitors.

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