Last week, I wrote about how a rising tide of eco-guilt has finally driven me to stop buying new hardware.
Tired of being whipped into a consumer frenzy by another messianic performance by Steve Jobs, I have now committed to stop buying any new kit unless it’s replacing something broken. I have almost any scenario covered tech-wise and there is really no excuse to buy any more until natural wear and tear dictates otherwise.
Of course there are machinations of tech companies to contend with, such as the expiring support for Windows XP, but I am pretty sure I can port my netbook to Linux when the time comes. Actually, I should have done it before now but, infuriatingly, it still pays to have access to a Windows machines for those proprietary apps that will run on nothing else (which included the CMS behind this website until very recently).
Making the pledge to “sweat my assets”, as it’s known in environmental circles, got me thinking about whether the plan would scale-up for a business. As a freelance journalist, I am a one-man business and I have no real concerns at this stage that the hardware ban will massively affect my own productivity. However I reckon that the idea of a complete hold on new kit wouldn’t go down well at, say, a global enterprise.
But then again, IT budgets have been pretty tight over the last two years as management juggles with the impact of the financial crisis. Sure, there has been less business to do and therefore potentially less need for sophisticated new platforms to cope with it, but I wonder whether this make-do and mend attitude to IT spending has really affected productivity? What would happen for instance if a company did make a similar commitment to no new hardware for, say, a year. Would it really make a massive difference to its performance? I am betting it wouldn’t.
Environmental and tech experts, including some from the UK government, agree that we should be using kit for longer. Last year, Cabinet Office deputy champion for green ICT Catalina McGregor, said that government departments should get tough on sweating their IT assets and hang on to kit longer. “It is going to be uncomfortable when it first comes and I think there is going to be a lot of raised eyebrows but certain areas really needed to be sweated, sometimes for up to 10 years, and you are going to be shocked,” she told an audience of IT managers at last years Green IT conference.
For more go to: eWEEK Europe UK