In the realm of software developers, it's common for Old Folks (that would be the group that includes me) to reminisce about the old days when we programmed using punched cards and languages like COBOL and FORTRAN. We would do things like desk-check our code to make sure the logic was right, since CPU cycles were expensive, RAM was limited, and I/O was cumbersome. It was important for us to make sure we used the hardware resources as efficiently as possible, so we struggled to make each instruction do as much as possible, and to use as few instructions as we could get by with. Then the hardware got cheap and powerful, people became more expensive than systems, and no one (outside of those embedded system folks out on the fringe) cared much about code efficiency any more.
The evolution of general software development is being repeated on the Web, as the average size of a page and its contents grows. An article over at WebMonkey.com says that we're building a fatter, slower Web. Oh. Goody. What joy does that news bring to you as a CIO? Let's walk through some of enterprise pleasures to come.
What's a CIO to do? You're not developing Web pages or even leading development teams, so you aren't going to review code. What you can do, though, is exercise the most powerful tool in a C-level exec's toolbox: You can define a culture.
If you let it be known that efficiency and elegance are qualities you demand, and reinforce those qualities with both your words and your actions, the effects will trickle down to every development group in your sphere of control. There are solid financial reasons to do this (see the sentence on finite pipes, above), but the cultural reasons may be more compelling. Treating every corporate resource as important and refusing to waste even abundant raw materials (like CPU cycles and I/O operations) leads to an organization that embraces cost savings as a virtue rather than a punishment, and takes the lead on "green" initiatives as a matter of course.