Why Is PCPM Overlooked, Despite The Cost Savings?


PC power management (PCPM) is overlooked by organisations, despite the cost savings it can deliver. Average power consumption savings of 40 per cent are being ignored, in part due to fear from IT departments that PCPM solutions may disrupt core IT operations.

In a new report assessing 11 of the leading PCPM solutions, annual power consumption savings of around $36 per PC can be achieved, and associated reductions of 380kWh and 586 pounds of CO2 per PC per year. Additionally, the payback period for many solutions is expected to be no more than six months, and in the US the solution costs may be completely offset by utility rebates.

With the cost of electricity rising and increasing pressure on organisations to implement sustainability initiatives, PCPM solutions can be an effective way to reduce energy consumption, and therefore operating costs.

However, even though the research shows IT budgets remaining flat in 2011 and growing carbon-reduction requirements and mandates, many IT decision-makers continue to forgo PCPM, despite its significant cost-saving benefits.

There exists a general mistrust among IT departments and a fear that power management solutions may disrupt core IT operations. But this is a misconception: none of the power-management solutions I have reviewed disrupts maintenance or other IT processes.

Lack of adoption could also be due to IT administrators’ inflated expectations of the effectiveness of desktops’ built-in power-saving technologies. Yet, while newer desktop machines and operating systems have improved power-saving features, I believe they are inadequate, as they are largely unable to tackle “PC insomnia,” which occurs when a machine is idle yet unable to shut down or switch into a low-power mode.

Organisations need to consider power management solutions as part of their broader business and sustainability strategies. The focus should be on solutions that deliver measurable and actionable results, which will encourage employee participation.

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Rhonda Ascierto is a Senior Analyst within Ovum’s Energy & Sustainability Technology team. She focuses primarily on green IT, the technologies that make computing less energy-intensive and reduce IT’s overall environmental footprint. Among other areas, Rhonda analyses technologies such as power management and sustainability practices in data centers and desktop computers, and sustainable product lifecycle management. Previously, Rhonda worked with Ovum’s Market Intelligence team, where she analysed enterprise technology such as collaboration and mobility, as well as green IT. Rhonda joined Ovum in 2005 as Deputy Bureau Chief of its ComputerWire news service, where she tracked leading technology vendors including Cisco, Dell, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle. She monitored market trends and provided analysis of major US technology markets, including mobility, enterprise computing, networking, and semiconductors. Rhonda was also a regular contributor to Computer Business Review magazine, writing in-depth articles on major technology issues. Previously, Rhonda was the managing editor of Silicon Valley Business Ink, a European correspondent for Electronic Buyers’ News, and chief reporter at Australian Electronics Engineering. She was also a senior copywriter with Western Australian renewable-technology start-up Imtech Industries. Rhonda holds a BA in English from Curtin University, Perth, Australia.