British consulting firm Grant Thornton is out with a new survey of cloud computing that includes data on green IT. The firm surveyed 40 venture capitalists and private equity specialists in the UK for the report (a slide presentation of it is available here).
In terms of the overall private equity environment, 57.5 percent of respondents felt that private equity investment in the technology sector would increase over the next two years with another 10 percent believing it will increase greatly. In terms of exits, 93 percent said that a trade sale (acquisition by an industry player) was the most probable exit over the next 12 months while only 8 percent view an IPO as a realistic exit option over the next year.
The report was extremely bullish on cloud, with 92.5 percent saying that Cloud was an attractive sector with 50 percent planning to make an investment in the next two years. And while as relatively recently as 2010 when 39 percent of respondents said they planned to make an investment in green IT, only 10 percent said they would invest in the efficiency end of computing with 55 percent describing green IT as “not attractive.”
Wendy Hart, head of Grant Thornton’s technology practice noted, “The concept of green IT has become less relevant as the move from “capex” models to “opex” models and the preponderance of cloud has subsumed has subsumed a focus on low energy solutions in the IT market.”
Basically as more and more business tasks are moved into the cloud, the opportunities to sell green IT services to business may be waning. I would argue, however, that the cloud itself is one big efficiency play because if you’re Rackspace or Google, your actively deploying efficiency tools like data center energy management software and low power servers in the interest of bringing down your power bills. But the concentration of cloud services in fewer and fewer big players does mean that you have fewer and fewer customers to whom you can sell you’re your green IT services. And those services or hardware need to be scalable for a larger customer.