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Call it what you want, recommending green tech thing takes more than a superficial interest

The whole idea of green IT or sustainability isn’t something new to Patrick Ciccarelli, CEO of San Francisco-based Varsity Technologies. But what IS new(er) is Ciccarelli’s broader commitment to what he calls “the triple bottom line.” That is, Varsity is focused on delivering solid economic performance combined WITH environmental performance and social performance. They three are inextricably entwined.

Ciccarelli was a featured member-to-member keynote speaker last week at Ingram Micro’s VentureTech Invitational event. During his brief address, he advised other solution providers toying with the notion of representing “green IT services” that such a business focus will require introspection and adoption of the very business practices it is seeking to represent. Green IT services, in short, are one of those things that are most legitimately offered by companies that have made a corporate commitment to the same sorts of business practices they are recommending, according to Ciccarelli. Potential clients will be seeking green “authenticity,” he says. “I was really struck by how much of an emotional issue this was for our staff.”

What exactly does that take? Ciccarelli advises fellow solution providers to focus on the following as they build out a sustainable (or green) market position:

  • Look for suppliers with environmentally friendly manufacturing processes
  • Examine products themselves with an eye to the materials used
  • Find technologies and products that can help customers save energy
  • Emphasize infrastructure designs that have long-term power conservation at the core
  • Understand the entire lifecycle for the product (that is, know how it can be recycled or refurbished at the end of its useful life

One final thought: The best way for a solution provider to get the attention of a prospective client when it comes to green or sustainable technology is for it to build an environmental impact document to that link specific cost-cutting measures to technologies or services that happen to be green. The CFO or facilities is often the best target for this document, Ciccarelli says.

Heather Clancy is a high-tech blogger and channel communications consultant with SWOT Management Group. She can be reach directly at

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