A guide to IT sustainability practices for enterprise CIOs

A guide to IT sustainability practices for enterprise CIOs

In this guide to IT sustainability practices, read how enterprise CIOs are using technology to make their companies more eco-friendly.

Enterprise CIOs are turning to IT sustainability practices to better serve their business strategies -- and the environment. According to today's professionals, sustainability is a top-down effort that can be worked into all verticals of the enterprise. IT sustainability practices can be as easy as going paperless, speaking with facilities managers about repurposing heat generated by data centers, optimizing server and storage virtualization and leveraging cloud services.

In this guide to sustainable IT practices for CIOs, learn how to make your company greener through a number of technology innovations and business operations modifications.

This guide to IT sustainability practices is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on timely topics.

Table of contents:

A CIO uses sustainable IT software to advance the business

"As I go through my day, I don't think too much about green IT," says CIO Niel Nickolaisen. "My day is consumed with building relationships of trust inside and outside IT; improving our IT capabilities, service levels and delivery performance; mitigating risks; and developing staff.

"This should not imply that green IT is not important to me," he says. "Rather, I have found that by doing the right things operationally, doing the right things on project delivery and making the right managed service decisions, I am naturally 'green.'"

Read Nickolaisen's full tip, "'Going green' means doing the right things."

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Paperless sustainable IT practices from a college CIO

Ravi Ravishanker is "fiercely paperless," as he puts it, and has been for 10 years. The CIO at Wellesley College requests papers and meeting notes be sent by email. Except for books that are not available electronically, all of his reading is done on screens. He doesn't even take business cards from vendors. In his day-to-day interactions with employees and students at the elite women's college in Wellesley, Mass., however, Ravishanker promotes going paperless and other sustainable practices with a soft touch.

"Given the sensitivity of the use of paper in academia, we look for opportunities," said Ravishanker, who became CIO and head of library services in 2010. "People tell us what they need paper for, and we recommend applications that can help get them out of the paper business."

Learn how to go paperless in"Sustainable practices from a paperless and politic CIO."

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Cloud tools that aid IT sustainability practices

Should CIOs be the drivers of energy efficiency for the business? There are some who believe it's getting easier to answer yes. With the emergence of cloud tools aimed at collecting and analyzing energy information, CIOs are in a unique position to take the lead on energy efficiency.

That, at least, was the underlying message from energy industry innovators and local IT leaders at a recent Mass Technology Leadership Council Inc. (MassTLC) seminar exploring the potential of cloud tools to meet the challenges of energy efficiency analysis.

Read more about sustainable cloud services in"Will analytic cloud tools make CIOs into energy efficiency czars?"

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Building sustainable businesses: Have you got what it takes?

In today's economy, CIOs must find ways for the IT organization to drive value back to the business, so they're being called on to lead the way in company efforts to become a sustainable business. Green computing technologies not only help reduce a company's carbon footprint but also usually have a positive effect on the bottom line. Sustainable businesses are leading the way in the areas of data center cooling, electronics waste reduction, peripheral energy savings and other cutting-edge technologies.

We've loaded you up with eco-friendly tips and advice, and here's your chance to show us how much you learned. From greenwashing to cloud computing, test your knowledge with our quiz on sustainable business practices. Unlike the SATs, we've got your back on the tough questions: Just click on the links within the questions to re-read our experts' stories and refresh your memory.

What's your green IQ?