Companies in Singapore are always looking for ways to make their information technology (IT) infrastructure work faster and more efficiently, but what is becoming more prevalent is the number of companies implementing or planning to implement eco-friendly IT management.

There are a few factors driving this trend.

One is the fact that regulations are demanding better energy management, especially from companies that consume large amounts of power in their day-to-day operations.

Another is that as companies continue to adopt faster, newer and more extensive IT infrastructure to increase productivity, energy costs are continuing to rise, taking a bigger slice out of their IT budgets.

And the other key driver of this trend is the need to go green, as companies aim to become better corporate citizens and take social responsibility more seriously in the face of rising public awareness of the need to look after the environment.

Growing demand for Green IT-certified professionals

A recent Fuji Xerox study on Singapore companies showed that 76 per cent of respondents recognised the need for Green IT certification or training.

This astounding response illustrates the keen focus that employers have on going green.

But most importantly for IT professionals, this shows that there is a very prominent and growing requirement for Green-certified IT staff.

The compelling study, however, also revealed the dismal truth about the current state of Green IT certification among Singapore companies: Only 6 per cent had such training or certification programmes in place.

But as IT typically accounts for around 70 per cent of the total energy used in the average office building, and with energy costs expected to eat up more of IT budgets, companies should already be moving to put their staff into Green IT certification programmes.

IT professionals too should be considering the value of being Green IT-certified.

Green IT helps ensure future sustainability

Taking the step to implement a Green IT-certification programme is an essential one for future sustainability, as industry bodies and the Government are already setting standards, guidelines and efficiency targets.

In January, the Infocomm Development Authority, in partnership with other government agencies, published a Singapore Standard for Green Data Centres.

This comes as the Government also plans to introduce mandatory energy management requirements in 2013 for companies consuming more than 15GWh, under an Energy Conservation Act.

In light of these developments, the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) has launched the first Green IT certification for IT professionals to be endorsed by the information and communication technology (ICT) industry in Singapore.

The Singapore Certified Green IT Professional programme by the SiTF Academy aims to be a game changer in the way companies operate their IT infrastructure in Singapore.

Through the course, participants will be able to measure and assess energy consumption in IT equipment, and learn ways to improve operational efficiency and cost-saving measures using Green IT tools.

This will be done through a series of educational courses. There will also be hands-on modules where participants can run simulations based on their own organisations to understand and assess energy usage.

In addition to what is on offer, such courses aim to establish and lay down industry best practices and principles that can lead to operational efficiency across the industry.

With the presence of such Green IT-certified professionals in companies, the estimated return on investment in the training can be high.

Having a Green-certified IT department can reduce costs by between 15 and 30 per cent, depending on the organisation’s size and IT energy usage.

There is still some way to go before such training becomes universal, but SiTF’s Singapore Certified Green IT Professional programme is a start.

With more industry collaboration and Government-driven initiatives, companies and IT professionals can expect a different environment for IT management ahead.

Benefits of Green IT certification

The immediate benefits to organisations are therefore in being certified, being in adherence with regulations and showing shareholders and the community at large that they are “sustainable” or “green”.

There are also immediate benefits to be reaped from adopting Green IT certifications for IT staff and departments.

Companies can save on energy costs, which are set to rise to astonishing levels in coming years.

Research suggests that in years to come, energy costs will account for more than 50 per cent of a typical organisation’s IT budget.

This eye-opening figure should be enough to encourage companies to be more energy-efficient and manage their IT infrastructure more effectively.

If you are an IT professional, being Green IT-certified will also make you a more desirable and even preferred candidate for the IT positions of the future.