Habits of Green Organizations
Successful organizations often share some common practices. For its third annual Top Green-IT Organizations awards, Computerworld honored 12 applicants out of nearly 100, and the following approaches are present among multiple green IT superstars.
- Server virtualization. State Street has virtualized 65 percent of its servers for a $3.5 million annual energy savings, and George Washington University has hit the same mark for a savings of more than 800,000 kilowatt hours annually.
- PC management. Many organizations automatically shut down and wake up desktop PCs for patches and upgrades, saving the company $1 million annually in the case of State Street.
- Printer management. Pacific Gas and Electric makes green IT best practices its gold standard: Users don't opt in, they have to opt out. So all printers are set to two-sided, black-and-white printing by default. That policy cut printing by 51 million pages last year, saving $460,000 in paper and consumables costs, said Scott McDonald, IT architect at the power company.
What Leaders Are Made Of
Gen. George Patton might have been a great leader, but that doesn’t mean he is a good model for others.
Classic leadership skills — developing a vision, translating it into a strategy and, yes, motivating employees — are important, but they are not enough to inspire others to follow, writes Sean Silverthorne, a member of the faculty at Harvard Business School.
Instead, people look for softer attributes, beginning with humanness. “Nobody wants to work with a perfect leader,” Silverthorne writes. “Build collaboration and solidarity by revealing your weaknesses.”
Other key attributes include intuition (“To be most effective, you need to know what’s going on without others spelling it out for you”), tough empathy (“Care deeply about employees, but accept nothing less than their best”) and uniqueness (“Demonstrate that you are singular by showing your unique qualities to those around you”).
Reining in Stealth Clouds
Employees everywhere are seeing the appeal of cloud computing in their personal lives, and those activities are seeping into their work lives — with or without the IT department’s blessing.
Writing at CIO.com, Nimbus CEO Ian Gotts assigns the label “stealth cloud” to cloud “services being consumed by business users without the knowledge, permission or support of the CIO and the IT department.”
He argues that “IT departments should see cloud computing as an ally, because embracing it will make them appear far more responsive to the business.” And he offers some practical tips for doing so, including the questions to ask when evaluating cloud services and a step-by-step process for getting those stealth clouds back into the fold of managed, compliant IT activities.