What's on the Radar for Green IT Research in 2011?

Last week, Forrester gathered its 1,200 worldwide employees together for an offsite meeting in Boston to kick off our agenda and plans for 2011 and beyond. It was the first time we had gotten the whole company together under one roof in 4 years; the company has grown by roughly 50 percent since the beginning of 2007.

Part of our offsite was devoted to research agenda planning around the big themes that we have identified for the technology industry in the coming year. And we have quite a strong research agenda in the sustainability arena, focusing on how large companies are using IT systems, software, and services to help meet their sustainability goals.

Our research agenda starts with our big-picture point of view on the state of the technology industry. And that is a good place to be! The global technology industry is at the beginning of a multi-year up cycle of industry innovation and growth, during which investment in tech products and services will grow considerably faster than the overall economy. This was true in 2010 and will again hold true in 2011 and 2012 (see Figure 1).

In addition to a rebound from the depressed spending levels of 2008-09, the tech industry is benefitting from a new cycle of innovation and investment being driven by smart computing systems that extend the reach of IT systems into asset optimization and other tasks that they have not been previously able to tackle. As these smart systems take hold in corporate and public-sector institutions, sustainability initiatives will benefit from more granular and real-time data, strong analytics, and closer ties to other corporate systems like ERP and financial systems.