IBM Forms IT Alliance to Promote Green Solutions

Green Sigma Coalition will make available to channel partners new, environmentally responsible IT products in areas targeted and funded by the federal government’s stimulus package.

IBM Corp. has formed an alliance with eight other leading IT companies to build and promote green solutions aimed at improving energy and water usage, managing waste and controlling greenhouse gas emissions.

The vendor announced the union, called the Green Sigma Coalition, at its recent Green and Beyond Summit in San Francisco, where it also unveiled plans to install a so-called smart sewer system in the city in conjunction with the local Public Utilities Commission.

Charter members, all of which IBM recruited to the fold, include Johnson Controls, Honeywell Building Solutions, ABB, Eaton Corp., ESS, Cisco Systems Inc., Siemens Building Technologies Division and Schneider Electric.

Participating companies were invited to join the alliance for their eco-friendly solutions and proficiency in metering, monitoring, automation, data communications and software.

An IBM executive said that the coalition’s goal is to foster standards and accelerate the rate of innovation in green IT. “We want to work with industry leaders,” said Mark Hanny, IBM vice president of alliances. “One key differentiation is that all the members bring a lot of intellectual property and expertise in metering and monitoring.”

Hanny said that the association is important for channel partners because it will make available new, environmentally responsible solutions in areas targeted and funded by the federal government’s stimulus package, such as energy and water use.

“The coalition opens doors for channel partners to sell solutions that didn’t exist before,” said Hanny. “The members bring technology capabilities but channel partners will foster the benefits because of their relationships with clients.”

“It will create opportunities for new applications for green IT,” Hanny said. “For example, real time metering and monitoring will allow our partners to take that information and help their customers make better decisions about energy usage and management.”

A Greener, Smarter Planet

Members will incorporate their green-oriented products and services with IBM’s existing Green Sigma solution, an initiative launched by the vendor last summer that combines real-time metering and monitoring with advanced analytics and dashboards. Solutions produced by the coalition will belong jointly to the members.

Green Sigma combines IBM’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) consulting service with Lean Six Sigma processes—a business strategy to improve efficiency, lower costs and increase quality--and applies it to key areas of environmental impact in a company’s operations.

Clients use the information to make better informed decisions about their business operations—including data centers, IT systems, manufacturing and distribution and office facilities—to reduce environmental impact, improve efficiency and lower costs.

“We see this becoming a big business opportunity for our skilled partners who provide consulting and services to their clients, especially those who can take new solutions and seamlessly integrate them into existing ones,” Hanny said. “Our job is to prepare partners and help them see the additional business opportunity.”

Hanny said that solutions developed by the alliance will be offered not only to IBM’s channel partner community but also to others, including Cisco’s reseller network. “We are focused on getting as many of our traditional partners involved as we can,” he said. “Cisco’s partners also will be able to take advantage of this opportunity.”

In noting the billions of dollars becoming available for energy ventures and the drivers behind the new coalition, Rich Lechner, IBM vice president for energy and environment said that “as we work toward creating a greener, smarter planet, it is plain that none of us can get there alone.”

TAGS: IBM,Cisco,green IT,stimulus bill,channel partners

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