Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The best sustainable technology services firms – according to Verdantix

Verdantix, the sustainable business analyst firm, has released a report, called Green Quadrant: Sustainable Technology Services 2011, that compares 15 global IT services firms on 49 assessment criteria. The study analysed IT service delivery capabilities for building energy efficiency, renewable energy, intelligent transport, electric vehicles, carbon and energy management software, climate change risk modelling and utility smart grid.

The Green Quadrant and details of the study can be found here, but key findings include:

  • Deloitte, IBM and Logica lead the global market for sustainable technology services. This is based on a strategic commitment to sustainable business, visionary commercial leaders, deep domain expertise, big project wins and a broad portfolio.

  • BT, HP and Orange Business Services leverage a solid sustainability platform. BT Global Services, HP and Orange Business Services embed sustainability into their firm’s culture, according to Verdantix, and have market leading corporate sustainability performance.

  • Capgemini, CSC and Hitachi Consulting show promise in specific service lines. Capgemini in data centre energy efficiency, utility smart grid and water management, CSC in intelligent transport, climate change risk assessment, smart grid, data centres and water management and Hitachi Consulting across a broader range of service lines.

Stuart Neumann, Verdantix Industry Analyst and author of the report said “Technology services firms rooted in outmoded green IT thinking are already losing out on multi-million dollar contracts. Our research found that large multi-nationals and city leaders want IT support for new sustainability initiatives such as electric vehicle infrastructure, offshore wind farms and global carbon management systems. Technology investment in these new areas is much larger than spend on green IT projects like data centre energy efficiency and PC power management.”



Well I agree with the general comments about the scope of green IT. In fact in a report I wrote more than two years ago I described green IT as covering:

  • Carbon counting and management solutions.

  • Carbon economy systems, e.g. carbon reporting, compliance and trading.

  • New infrastructure/transport projects, e.g. road charging systems, public transport optimisation, etc.

  • Enterprise solutions: data centres, facilities management, logistics/transport.

  • Renewable energy generation and distribution, e.g. solar/wind-farm control systems.

  • Climate change opportunities, such as weather monitoring and reporting, impact assessments, risk management systems, business continuity, real-time information, etc.

If I was to rewrite it today the only change I would make would be to at least mention smart grids (under renewable energy generation and distribution). I’m not sure whether the Verdantix report goes as far as covering all of the above.

And there’s the rub. This report is useful – the general points are well made and Deloitte, IBM and Logica would be at or near the top of my green IT services company choice (although not necessarily in that order). But vendor positioning depends very much on the definitions and assessment criteria employed. Some of the placings of other companies suggests a particular view of what is important, which may not be everyone’s opinion (for instance, does the assessment include how green the service delivery itself is or the ability to measure and track the benefits of the service that’s delivered?).

Stuart Neumann also said that “The sustainable business market opportunity for technology services firms is in transition. Only a handful of thought leaders globally understand where the chips will fall.” Again, I agree – but doesn’t that also undermine company assessment? Maybe there’s more detail in the full report.

One thing I very much agree with and would also emphasise is that green IT is much, much more than making IT itself greener. I would prefer to spend a lot more time writing and talking about the other aspects in my green IT list above, but even the IT services companies themselves seem to prefer to talk about data centres and PC power management.

So if you do have an news, views, comment, etc. about IT service or solution that helps businesses or economies become more sustainable or reduce their emissions, then do please tell.

© The Green IT Review

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