Tuesday, 12 May 2009

SAP acquires Clear Standard

In a sign of things to come, SAP has announced that it is acquiring Clear Standards, Inc, a private US company providing enterprise carbon management solutions. Clear Standards is one of a long (and growing) list of companies providing software to help organisations measure, optimise and report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts. Often solutions are web-based, as is the case with Clear Standards.

SAP is looking to Clear Standards to help it accelerate its carbon management offering "in this time of increasingly stringent government regulations and expectations for better transparency by the public".

SAP says that it will enable Clear Standards to tap into financial and other data stored in enterprise solutions such as SAP Business Suite 7 software and the SAP Environment, Health, and Safety Management application.

This is interesting for several reasons. Firstly, it signals the fact that enterprise software companies may not have the sorts of comprehensive solutions that the market needs, or that they can't develop them in time to meet market demand. In my discussion with SAP last year the company maintained it would develop the functionality as and when required. This acquisition suggests it proved more difficult than expected.

The danger for the likes of SAP is also that companies providing carbon management solutions might encroach upon the ERP space where enterprise solutions providers have made their name.

I also suspect that this move signals the start of a number of such acquisitions, which will gather pace as the market accelerates under legislation and stakeholder pressure. There are quite a few companies like Clear Standards in the market, but few that have comprehensive and mature products. There will be increasing competition for those that have.

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