Survey: Technology key to SMBs' green strategy

Research finds that 63 percent of small-to-midisze companies employing green tech enjoy savings of US$19,200 on average

Motivated to help the environment as well as their businesses, SMBs are increasingly embracing green practices. One of their primary approaches: employing green technology, according to recently released survey results from KRC Research.

Among IT decision makers at 250 small businesses (those with fewer than 50 employees), 69 percent said that having environmentally friendly practices was important to their businesses. As to the driving reasons, 44 percent said they were embracing sustainability for the good of the planet; the same cumulative percentage cited business reasons such as reducing costs (25 percent), improving brand perception (eight percent), improving productivity (eight percent), and luring and retaining new talent (three percent).

Given that the respondents were IT decision makers, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise nearly all them, 94 percent, agreed that "technology is an important tool to help conserve the environment." On top of that, 82 percent said that technology is a cost-effective way to help their company be environmentally friendly.

The IT decision makers noted which environmentally friendly technologies are currently in use at their respective organizations. At the top of the list, used by 76 percent of the respondents, was mobile technology. To be completely honest, I don't know how mobile technology in and of itself can be considered green -- with the possible exception of using a laptop computer instead of a PC-monitor combo. A laptop uses less energy, plus it's more portable, meaning employees could use it both for working at home and at the office. That eliminates the need for redundant systems.

Another 68 percent of the respondents said their companies are using PC power management. That's a fairly heartening statistic, though I certainly hope to see more companies embrace the technology. To me, it's a no-brainer investment because it has such as easy-to-calculate, positive ROI. PCs have built-in power management already, so IT admins at small orgs could easily turn it on free of charge, though that approach could be more difficult to enforce. Alternatively, they could invest in software for US$25 per license and up from vendors such as Verdiem, BigFix, Autonomic Software, or KACE. Considering you can save US$25 and up per year per computer (I've seen some data saying it can reach as high as US$75 per computing), the savings are evident.

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Ted Samson

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