Thursday, 16 February 2012

IT services companies accelerate their investment in sustainability services

According to a report from Verdantix, the 17 largest global IT services providers accelerated their investments in energy, environment and sustainability service lines in 2011. The market leaders are now Accenture, Deloitte, IBM And Logica.

The Verdantix report is based on analysis of 17 global IT services firms across 52 criteria. The study also assessed customer perceptions through interviews with a panel of buyers representing 10 industries with a collective spend of $331 billion.

The report found that what separates the leading firms from the rest is that they have better sustainability strategies and more expertise in consultancy as well as systems implementation capabilities across a raft of solutions areas. The main solution areas are renewable energy, facilities energy management, sustainable data centres, environmental compliance, sustainability performance management, low carbon transport, smart grid, smart meters and climate change IT services. A lot of these services have been launched by IT firms in the last year to keep up with customers’ energy and environment strategies.

The four market leaders each have a broad portfolio of offerings, strong sustainability consulting skills and active marketing of corporate sustainability performance. Other companies, such as Capgemini, CSC, Fujitsu, Steria and TCS, have success based on one or two market segments, but are expanding their offerings. HP, IBM, Wipro and Orange score highly on corporate sustainability.


Customers’ spending priorities for the next two years reflect a strong bias to energy management - 100% of the panel cited facility energy management and enterprise energy and carbon management as investment areas. A total of 87% listed smart meters and energy efficient sustainable data centres as budgeted initiatives in 2012 and 2013.


The first point that strike me is that there is increasingly a broad range of solutions being delivered, which seems to be a successful strategy for the market leaders even though priorities for most customers are still quite narrow. The broader demands support what I’ve been saying in recent months, though, that green/sustainable IT is now becoming included, if not integrated, in corporate sustainability strategies, rather than the result of discrete initiatives from one or more separate departments.

But it’s also clear that the market is still in its early stages. No IT services firm is going to make big bucks soon from this market and there will be a lot of hand holding of customers along the way. Good consultancy expertise is a must-have, which could be good news for small sustainability consultancies looking to sell out. It will also mean sustained investment from the technology companies. David Metcalfe, Verdantix CEO, makes the point: “For IT services firms, success in this market will require unrelenting commitment, entrepreneurial flexibility and a friendly CFO with a bag of cash to keep funding innovation.”

© The Green IT Review

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