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Sustainability Platforms to be Replaced by Integrated Systems

Existing sustainability platforms will likely be replaced by more integrated software solutions, according to a recent survey by Verdantix.

Four niche categories of software applications – carbon management, sustainability reporting, energy management and environmental compliance – will be swept away by a new era of integrated sustainable business software platforms, the survey found.

The research firm surveyed 65 worldwide software providers on questions such as data on product launches since 2005, customer wins by industry and the job titles of individuals who have purchased sustainable business software.

The study found that there has been an explosive growth in the number of sustainability software applications. From 2005 to 2010 the number of sustainable business software applications grew from 31 to 126 – an increase of 406%. In 2009 alone, software vendors launched 32 new applications and 2010 has already seen 15 additional product launches. Supply-side growth will increase buyer education and establish the new software category.

The purchasing decisions are largely being driven by sustainability leaders within companies. Ninety-three per cent of firms supplying sustainable business software predominantly sell to managers with job titles like VP Sustainability and Chief Sustainability Officer. Sixty-four per cent of the suppliers have sold to individuals in environment, EH&S or CSR roles and just 18% have sold into the IT organization.

However, the study also found that a new era of integrated platforms is beginning now through software innovation. For example, Enviance offers a value proposition based on the concept of Environmental ERP. The Verisae product strategy is built on the idea of Sustainable Resource Planning and in the last 18 months SAP has acquired Clear Standards for carbon management and Technidata for environmental compliance.

Verdantix argues that this trend is being driven by an increase in supply side activity as more companies come to appreciate the strategic nature of sustainability initiatives. The organization also believes that only a handful of the existing 65 vendors in the space will survive the upcoming consolidation.

Meanwhile, a recent study by Pike Research found that the market for carbon management software and services for the manufacturing sector is expected to grow by 33 percent annually from 2009 to 2017, while U.S. federal government’s demand for carbon management software is expected to grow from its current level of $36 million to $294 million by 2017.

The report, Buyer’s Guide To Sustainable Business Software, is available for download by Verdantix clients and for purchase by non-clients at www.verdantix.com.

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