The IT department at investment bank Lehman Brothers is charging business departments based on the power consumption of the applications they use.
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"We cannot have a model of IT for infinite power consumption, said Michael Fahy, head of IT infrastructure, Europe at Lehman Brothers, which is based in Canary Wharf.
Because electrical power and space is at a premium, Fahy has changed the way the IT department charges business departments for IT to reflect the need for greener IT. He said the bank previously charged back applications based on the amount of datacentre floor space required to run them. "We have moved to a model where applications are charged based on the net power consumption of the storage and servers they require."
Chargeback is one of the approaches IT takes to align more closely with business, by offering services that are charged directly to the business departments that consume them. Chargeback is usually calculated based on the amount of IT resources the business department requires, said Dale Vile, managing director at analyst group Freeform Dynamics.
"Lehman Brothers' chargeback mechanism looks like a very original approach." he said. "The more you can make sustainability part of the day-to-day processes of the business, the better."
"However, power is not the only cost and charging needs to take into account staff and the type of architecture, such as PC servers and mainframes."
A study from Vanson Bourne, commissioned by Cisco, found that IT decision makers are expected to spend more of their budgets on technologies aimed at improving sustainable business practice.
Twenty five per cent of the 200 IT decision makers surveyed expected their budget to rise by between 10% and 25% to support the corporate sustainability strategies of the business. Forty three per cent of respondents said they were prepared to pay a premium for goods and services from sustainable suppliers.