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

Back to the survey, half the respondents said their companies allow employees to telecommute. Telecommuting can indeed help a company be greener: It means employees are emitting fewer greenhouse gasses driving to and from work (and saving a nice wad of cash in the process). They're also using fewer company resources to power their systems. Plus, it can result in cost savings through lower real estate costs for companies.

Other green technologies being employed by SMBs include upgrading to energy-efficient technology (43 percent) and employing Internet-based meetings for activities such as giving presentations (42 percent), which presumably reduces travel-related expenses and waste.

Beyond asking the respondents which green technologies their companies currently used, KRC asked them what they thought were the top technologies for being environmentally friendly and saving money. Tops on the list, cited by 44 respondents: the paperless office.

This finding surprises me: I didn't think the paperless office was on so many people's radar, as some analysts dismiss it as an unattainable goal. But technologies such as electronic document management, e-signatures, supply chain automation, HR software, and printer-management software can all help cut paper waste at an organization.

Second on the list of promising green technologies was PC power management, mentioned by 28 percent of the respondents. Next was allowing telecommuting, cited by 26 percent of the pool. Sixteen percent said that upgrading server infrastructure to the most energy-efficient technology available was the most eco-friendly, money-saving effort. Another 16 percent said "using more software to streamline operations." 15 percent mentioned using mobile technology, while 14 percent said conducting live meetings over the Web.

Perhaps one of the largest looming questions in the minds of IT decision makers is, can green save you money? Judging by the survey responses, the answer is mostly yes: 63 percent of the respondents reported that green practices save them some cash -- an average of US$19,200, according to the survey results. 17 percent said it didn't cost them or save them any money. Another 13 percent said it cost them money.

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