Gartner examines growth through sustainable technology

Sustainability is underutilized

July 1, 2024, 1:40 p.m. |

Jörg Schröper

The most cost-effective sustainable IT initiatives currently have less than 30 percent corporate adoption, according to a new Gartner study.

“Sustainable IT is evolving at a steady pace,” commented Kristin Moyer, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. A survey found that on average, executives have implemented nine sustainable IT initiatives across the data center and cloud, digital workplace, data and software categories. However, sustainable IT adoption patterns show that leaders do not always implement the most cost-effective initiatives.

The survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2023 to assess the actions and impact of IT in reducing greenhouse gas emissions within IT and business. A total of 200 executives from North America, Europe and Asia Pacific participated in the survey.

The survey found that 64 percent of executives believe they are not getting the emissions performance data they need from providers. “Because of these limitations, some executives struggle to prioritize sustainable IT initiatives or know where to start,” Moyer said. “They also neglect sustainable IT initiatives that are cost-effective and achieve modest greenhouse gas reductions.”

While the two areas where leaders have undertaken the most sustainable IT initiatives are the data center (86 percent of respondents) and the digital workplace (79 percent of respondents), there are also initiatives in both categories that are more cost-effective and still have a low level of acceptance. In the data center, this includes adapting the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and improving cooling.

“Leaders should right-size their UPS based on current and future capacity requirements to increase performance and save costs,” Moyer continued. “Improved cooling systems such as immersion cooling, passive cooling and direct chip cooling are also underutilized and can contribute to significant water savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

In the workplace, managers are not making enough use of the circular economy in IT. Only 22 percent of executives surveyed choose to purchase refurbished equipment to improve the circular economy and reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, many companies still renew their devices based on a fixed (three to five years) life expectancy, rather than using analytics to determine the optimal time to replace laptops, PCs and servers. Leaders should use device performance analysis and telemetry information to replace devices as needed. Gartner estimates that PC-as-a-Service will account for 50 percent of PC purchases by 2027, up from 20 percent in 2023.

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