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Putting a price on the green IT services opportunity

Slowly but surely, some of the big high-tech vendors have started pulling their channel partners into their “green technology” efforts. As Barbara Darrow blogged earlier this week, Sun is the latest to put a formal stake in the ground. Actually, honestly, they’re the first high-tech vendor that I can think of that really has made a public effort to include its VARs in this green thing.

So, in case you’re wondering just how much opportunity exists for services related to green technology rationalization, I wanted to share some statistics that were recently released by Forrester Research as part of a report called “The Dawn of Green IT Services.”

First, the bottom line: Forrester believes that overall services related to helping companies rationalize the energy efficiency and sustainability profile of their technology will peak at $4.8 billion in 2013, with roughly half of that spending coming from European businesses. (The services revenue for this year is expected to be around $500 million.) Much like the Y2K wave, green tech services will begin to taper off after this point as the practices become more a standard part of running an IT infrastructure, Forrester concludes. Another note: North America companies will be slower on the uptake than those in Europe, with spending peaking around $2.1 billion in 2013, the firm reports.

You can compartmentalize the opportunity for green tech services into three different buckets: the assessment phase, the planning and development phase, and the implementation phase.

As you might expect, assessments present the shortest-term opportunity, running between two and 10 weeks and costing $30,000 to $100,000. Only about 50 percent of companies will proceed to the next phase: detailed planning. But, Forrester figures that those that do should be willing to spend between $50,000 and $400,000 on roadmaps for any number of initiatives such as server virtualization and consolidation, an enhanced power infrastructure, and more energy-efficient servers and other gear.

Need more convincing that green tech isn’t just a boondoogle?

The big jackpot will go to those VARs and integrators that become involved in making green tech plans become reality. The implementation phases of these projects will take from 30 weeks to more than 100 weeks, according to Forrester. They can cost from $300,000 to $2 million — for the services alone.

By the way, here are some efforts that Forrester considers to crowd under the green IT umbrella:

  • Green procurement policies
  • E-waste recycling
  • Data center optimization
  • Supply chain optimization
  • Building automation projects
  • Collaboration and conferencing initiatives
  • Managed print services

Heather Clancy is a high-tech journalists and strategic communications consultant with SWOT Management Group. She can be reached at

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