CIOs worried about their job future take note: If you polish your green credentials, there's a new role for you, as Chief Green Officer (CGO) for your enterprise. It's a job with great growth potential, and it should be yours.
At first, it might seem that CIOs and CGOs don't have much in common. IT folks, after all, generally don't have degrees in fields related to the environment. So where can they get their green credentials?
The answer is right in front of them, every day. Greening an enterprise requires that someone measure initial energy use and carbon footprint at a granular level, constantly monitor that use, put a plan into effect for reducing the carbon footprint, and then continue to monitor, measure, and refine the plan.
Who in an enterprise is best suited to perform this kind of monitoring and planning? IT folks. They do it every day as part of their job. Every time you plan, deploy, and monitor a new IT project, you perform essentially the same steps as a CGO would have to do.
Putting into effect a green plan requires the collection of data, turning that data into useful information, and then acting on it. IT already has most of the tools in place --- the servers, the applications, and the storage. The only thing lacking at this point is tools for collecting the data, such as electricity use, lighting use, heating use, and so on.
Doing that, though, is the easy part. Increasingly, hardware monitors are being created that will do that. Today, for example, Google laid out plans for its role in the oncoming smart grid, as detailed by the New York Times.
In addition, several weeks ago, I wrote about Cisco's EnergyWise software, which can reduce IT energy use and carbon emissions by monitoring and controlling the electric use of network-connected devices. But EnergyWise is aimed much higher than that, at controlling the energy use of entire enterprises, not just IT equipment.
These use of these kinds of technologies will accelerate dramatically over the next several years, because President Obama's economic stimulus plan includes billions of dollars for investment in the smart grid.
The upshot? One day most enterprises will have a CGO, whether as an official title, or as an unofficial role. If you're a CIO or an IT professional, there's no reason it shouldn't be you.
Image courtesy Stock.xchng user woodsy.