In an increasing number of conversations Quocirca has with technology professionals it is becoming clearer that more and more people fundamentally get the problem of climate change. This is true for professionals working for both vendors and user organisations. A commonly-expressed sentiment is a sense of frustration that their current employers aren't taking the issue seriously enough, and taking the appropriate level of action.
Technologists are by nature methodical and analytical people who rely on facts as a basis for decision making. Of course they are human too with all the associated emotional foibles, but generally speaking technologists are pragmatic and scientific in approach. Many say that they have examined the facts behind climate change, have weighed up the risks, and are convinced that action needs to be taken, and quickly.
Not surprisingly many of those people see the application of technology as being a potential solution. To some extent this is a view that Quocirca also holds—though with the caveat that the IT industry has an unfortunate history of overestimating its capabilities. Current efforts towards achieving maximum efficiency in the use of electricity in the datacentre are laudable, and we are also seeing innovative developments in hardware and software that will assist a transition toward a lower-carbon economic model. That said, we are clearly only at the beginning of a long journey towards meeting the necessary emissions cuts, which will include far-reaching changes in business models. Technology will play a number of important roles in enabling those changes, however it is unlikely there is a simple techno-fix.
Many technologists also recognise that this issue is therefore fundamentally a business problem, over and above being a technology problem. Therein lays the root of the sense of frustration that many express. As IT professionals they have a track record of providing innovative solutions to business problems. However, in this case many see a leadership vacuum and a failure of action at the business management level. When that occurs there is a problem.
Even as the economy falters, global financial systems unravel, and consumer confidence is undermined, many of those frustrated IT professionals confess that they are actively considering a job change. Their sense of frustration over the lack of action from their current employers on the issue of climate change is enough for them to be motivated to jump jobs. Those with strong skills and innovative ideas will have the confidence to move to an employer which is willing to listen and put those ideas into action.
The winners in this cycle will be those vendors and employers that are demonstrating leadership toward action on climate change, as they are finding no shortage of skilled people who are also highly motivated to help the business strategy succeed. Perhaps if that helps a company succeed which is committed to reducing its own emissions footprint and to providing assistance and solutions that help other businesses do the same, then we are all winners. One senses that something very important is stirring down in the IT industry.