Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Opportunities for vendors to penetrate sustainability-related IT solutions

LONDON, ENGLAND: Penetration of sustainability-related IT solutions stands at about 10 per cent worldwide, indicating substantial opportunity for vendors of these solutions and competitive advantage for companies that move quickly to adopt them, according to new research by Ovum.

A global survey of nearly 1,500 organizations with 1,000 or more employees found 151 that had adopted an IT solution for one or more of four purposes: to manage energy consumption, to reduce the environmental footprint, to manage corporate social responsibility overall, or to manage reporting and compliance. The survey found that energy management emerged as the strongest of the four drivers of solution adoption.

About 60 per cent of adopters called sustainability “very important” or “important” to their organizations, but it still ranked sixth on a list of 13 priorities, below cost reduction, customer satisfaction, revenue growth, responsiveness and risk avoidance.

Warren Wilson, Lead Analyst, Energy & Sustainability, Ovum, said, “Among the three components of triple-bottom-line reporting – planet, people, profits – it was clearly the latter that adopters deemed most important.”

Wilson and his team found that the solution penetration was remarkably even around the world. Ovum contacted roughly 500 organizations (about 80 per cent private sector, 20 per cent public sector) in each of three regions – North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific – to find 50 in each region that had adopted an IT solution for any of the four sustainability-related functions. The survey sample was dominated by mid-sized companies; some three-quarters of the 151 adopters had 1,000 to 4,999 employees.

The survey also looked a variety of other factors, such as linkage between sustainability and executive compensation, which executives within the organization are responsible for sustainability strategy, solution penetration rates by industry, and key metrics such as time to benefit and return on investment. Strikingly, two-thirds of adopters reported time-to-benefit of a year or less, and two-thirds said their solution paid for itself within two years.

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