New research from BT has uncovered a significant mismatch between the perceived role of IT and communications technology in making business operations more sustainable, and the strategic planning undertaken to make it a reality.
The research, conducted by Datamonitor, found that 90% of organisations from the public and private sector believe technology is part of the solution to reduce their impact on the environment. Nearly a third says that it is an important part.
However, two-fifths (41%) have no plans or targets for achieving improvements, with one in five admitting that they are not using technology effectively to improve their sustainability.
According to the study, a third of UK organisations across the range of sectors say the need to improve sustainability will be the single biggest driver of IT investment over the next five years. This was cited as more important than implementing new technologies such as unified communications (25%), taking advantage of converged networks (14%) or improving security (11%).
But even though the majority of organisations in the research recognise the benefits of operating more sustainable in terms of the bottom line, customer attitudes and overall reputation, 35% consider it purely a tick box exercise to aid regulation compliance.
Commented Tim Smart, CEO of BT Global Services UK, “Companies may be paying lip-service to the issue of sustainability. Operating [sustainability] is important – and technology has a role to play in making it happen. However the lack of forethought given to how to exploit this opportunity means companies may fail to see real benefit from the efforts they are making and critically a return on their investments…networked IT services have a fundamental role to play in enabling more sustainable practices that bring opportunities and benefits in terms of competitiveness, productivity and even reduced costs.”
Added Neil Hendry, Director of Consulting at Datamonitor, “In terms of building sustainability credentials, the research highlights a positive awareness regarding the impact different technologies can have on areas such as flexible working, more efficient supply chain processes, building services automation (for reducing and monitoring energy use), as well as the importance of ensuring employees aren’t disadvantaged through lack of IT skills. The challenge is for organisations to grasp these opportunities and make real changes to the way they do business.”