The green-building momentum is picking up and so is a green-versus-smart debate. For the sustainability-focused business and technology leaders, however, such a discussion would be a superfluous distraction.

Indeed. Green for green’s sake is often not sustainable, as the measly adoptions of many past green offerings have shown. To see wide-scale embracement, green must find intelligent ways to make financial sense too for businesses. A smart approach to green is what makes it sustainable, especially from a financial perspective.  

Buildings—including those that house data centers—can’t be any different. They need to be green as well as intelligent.

True, intelligent buildings need not be green certified and vice versa. Yet, both share a common goal—that of delivering greater sustainability and energy efficiency to the organization.

IT can help. In the more recent times, IT has emerged as an increasingly acceptable tool for bringing accelerated intelligence to buildings. These developments also potentially extend CIOs’ role, calling them to lead a more holistic ITfication of perhaps the only remaining corporate aspect—the facilities.

This could significantly change the way facilities processes and management work—of course for the better. And yet, it also goes without saying that any organizational change would likely be fraught with resistance.

Already, apprehensions are being cast that a road to IT integration of facilities such as physical security, surveillance, HVAC and lighting would not be without resisting bumps—the hypothesis being that facilities heads would be threatened by the possibility of CIOs eliminating or dwarfing their roles.

Well considered change-management plans could hold the key to accelerating IT-driven implementation of sustainability strategies for buildings. Also, given that CIOs have had ample experience from the past—of managing resistance to change—they are likely better equipped now than in earlier days.

In a select few enterprises, the CIOs may see some helping push and support coming from the sustainability officers too. In most of the cases, however, due to the absence of such officials, the CIOs may do well to themselves don a modest sustainability hat. After all, there’s a reasonable sustainability understanding they carry from their varied experiences of green IT.

A joint sustainability plan with facilities heads may be a good way to rubbish any ‘threat’ theories and to kick-start the implementations. Apprehensions could also be ameliorated by the simple and truthful argument that if IT-led integrations of other enterprise processes didn’t dwarf other CXOs’ positions in the past, why should it do so now? (That it helped make the CIO a more decorated lieutenant in the boardroom can certainly not be construed to be the same thing.)

A key to managing change lies in developing a common perspective that the facilities or even the entire buildings are not much more than a new application area of IT, like sales, finance or HR earlier. This would help CIOs better coordinate with facilities heads to deploy, enhance or integrate building management systems in ways that are phased, time bound and also financially viable and sustainable. 
© 2018, the insights service provider focused on IT and telecom, offering rich analysis done by subject matter specialists.
To make a service inquiry, click