Consolidation projects have been popular since long before green IT was the rage. A few years ago, considerations such as operational efficiency, centralized policy management, reliability, and security were typically the business drivers. But now, with almost nightly news coverage of global warming, stricter domestic and international government regulations, and intense public pressure on companies to adopt environmentally friendly practices, some businesses have shown a willingness to spend a bit more on programs that increase their green cred.
If the initiative is such that it can be boiled down and trumpeted in press releases, all the better.
But for most of us, the reality is that businesses still expect IT to cut overall costs, even as they mandate greenness. The good news is that these goals aren't mutually exclusive. In fact, more often than not, cost-cutting consolidation efforts result in lower environmental impact, advancing the green mandate. E-mail is a prime example in that it's one of the most ubiquitous enterprise applications. Many users and organizations consider e-mail to be the most critical form of communication they have, surpassing the telephone. If the PBX goes down, users will pull out their cell phones and manage to connect with customers. But if the corporate e-mail system falters, widespread panic generally ensues.