Green IT Service Market to Grow to $4.8 Billion in 2013: Forrester

Driven by corporate desires to save money and improve efficiencies, Forrester Research is predicting the green IT services market will grow 60 percent per year into 2013, when it will peak at $4.8 billion before leveling off. More enterprises are investigating hiring IT services firms to help plan and implement green IT initiatives, and while the global recession is putting a squeeze on IT spending, it also is persuading corporations to optimize their existing IT assets rather than buy new ones, and is fueling the federal government's drive to fund green projects.

The market for green IT services, fueled by the push by businesses to save money and improve efficiencies, could grow by as much as 60 percent a year over the next four years, according to a report from Forrester Research.

The market could grow from about $450 million in 2008 to $4.8 billion in 2013 before leveling off in 2014, Forrester analyst Chris Mines said in his report, issued April 24.

"In the context of a $500 billion global market for IT services in 2008, the $5 billion market for green IT services [in 2013] may look like small potatoes to vendor strategists," Mines said in the report. "However, we expect that the visibility and strategic importance of green IT projects will put them near the top of many corporations' consulting agendas."

Essentially, enterprises are going green and want to find vendors that can help them, from data center giants such as Cisco Systems, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun Microsystems to service providers such as Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte and Infosys.

Driving the growth of green IT services is a combination of enterprise desires to save money and to do good, Mines said in his report. Businesses are deploying sustainability metrics around such criteria as water and power use, and are also starting to track their corporate carbon footprint.

At the same time, there is a greater enterprise push in capital-intensive projects to optimize the current IT assets already on hand rather than going out and buying new ones. In addition, while green IT projects are still primarily targeted at the data center, they also are growing into other areas, such as corporate desktop environments.

Forrester saw a jump between its survey in October 2007 and a second one in October 2008 in corporate interest in retaining a professional services provider to help plan and implement a green IT initiative.

In the 2007 survey, 70 percent of respondents said they had no plans; that percentage dropped to 54 percent a year later. Eighteen percent in 2007 said they weren't currently using an IT services provider, but that they were considering the idea. In 2008, that number jumped to 30 percent.

Mines' report found that emerging markets showed the most interest, as did the utilities and telecommunications markets.

However, there were some positive and negative factors that went into calculating the latest projections. The global recession will cause worldwide IT spending to shrink by 3 percent this year over 2008-with IT services and outsourcing spending falling along the same lines. In addition, the recession's negative impact on corporate capital spending convinced Mine to reduce the average spend on a green IT project's implementation phase from about $1 million to $800,000, reflecting the interest by businesses to optimize existing IT assets rather than buy new ones.

However, Mine said, there is increasing corporate interest in green IT-Forrester increased the percentage of green IT interest in North American enterprises from 75 percent to 80 percent, and from 60 percent to 75 percent in Asian enterprises. The percentage of European enterprises remained at 90 percent.

In addition, a key response from the Obama administration to the recession has been to focus some stimulus money on green projects, many of which will have significant numbers of IT components involved.