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Iron Ore Mining

Why IT Services Firms Need A Sustainable Solutions Practice Group

Monday, 05 December 2011

Since Green IT burst onto the scene in 2006, IT systems integrators have struggled to understand the best organizational and go-to-market strategies for the confusing "market" for IT services linked to energy management, environmental compliance and sustainability strategies. Conservative IT services firms -- especially those focused on desktops and data centres -- have stuck to home turf with a focus on data centre energy efficiency and server virtualization. More ambitious players like Capgemini have struck out to dominate new market segments like managed services for smart meters. Winning market share through focus. IBM has made sustainability a key part of its Smarter Planet corporate branding campaign. And has followed up with service development in areas like building energy efficiency as well as making acquisitions of specialist firms in the energy management sector like TRIRIGA.

As we head into six years of market evolution since the birth of Green IT, Verdantix believes that all IT services firms with an aspiration to go beyond pure data centre energy management need to establish a sustainable solutions practice. The good news? At present this is not a costly exercise. A point team of 5 people to co-ordinate internally and communicate externally is sufficient. Success will come from educating colleagues in existing commercial groups such as industry practice groups and helping them win business or differentiate pitches. European public procurement is getting increasingly stringent on energy and environmental performance so bid teams in that segment need help. Increasingly there will be opportunities for enterprise-scale systems integration projects that ’Sustainability Solutions’ practices can win which will top $10 million as software firms like IHS seek partners to implement the next generation of environment and sustainability software. These specific project wins will justify the practice group’s existence.

The bad news? For firms without this practice group they are already playing catch up. Capgemini, HP, IBM, Infosys, Wipro have all established a practice group to bring more commercial focus to their energy and environment activities. Firms without this organizational capability will not win major contracts. In our experience, they won’t even hear about them.