Power management is only one element in the IT Efficiency debate. For organisations to become truly efficient, streamline costs and reduce their impact on the environment, they need to measure the usefulness of IT, remove wasted assets to reduce cost and optimise the rest. All areas need scrutiny: software, hardware, energy consumption and the manual actions that could be automated. 

Everyone’s talking about power management. Sustainable IT projects have brought about a much-needed shift in considering our environment and the need to reduce our impact on it. Many IT folks are well aware of the importance of power management and the part it plays in reducing energy consumption and cutting CO2 emissions. How much they do about it is another matter.

The problem with power is that it isn’t a discrete component of IT. The best way to measure its impact is to look at overall efficiency. It is important to measure whether IT is doing useful work or not. If it is not, you can not only save power but a whole host of other costs from unused hardware (by decommissioning servers) and unused software (applications that are not used) as well as associated maintenance.

Another factor to consider is the cost of the time people spend on managing IT and supporting users. These extra costs can amount to 10x the value of power itself. So if you save £10 on power you could save £100+ in terms of total IT running costs.

The power debate has shifted to one around IT efficiency. In fact, industry analysts believe that overall IT efficiency has to be key because the savings are so much greater than power savings alone.

According to independent research firm Forrester Research: “While 2011 started with a more robust IT spending environment, many organisations began to pull back midyear, and 2012 plans are expected to be more conservative given the high degree of uncertainty. […] Efficiency and consolidation are top IT priorities.”

As an example, one in six servers – 15% in any single data centre at any one time – are not doing anything useful. It’s not about utilisation levels but about the business value that the server is performing; whether your servers are doing anything useful at all. If there’s no useful activity, then your investment is giving you absolutely no return.

Other thought-provoking statistics include:

  • A typical UK company with 1,000 PCs wastes £16,800 a year through not shutting down PCs
  • 22% of purchased software globally is never deployed
  • Between £650 and £1300 ($1000 and $2000) is spent on Windows 7 migrations per user – this could be saved if automated
  • 12% of IT help desk tickets are requests for new software. User self service could save organisations in the UK and US over £5.6bn ($8.6bn) a year in IT help desk costs.

All of these costs and unused IT waste are avoidable and must be reined in. IT efficiency is the next evolutionary step.