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Sustainability Software Expands at Operational, Process Level

A broad new range of software is emerging in response to companies’ need for operational and process-level sustainability management, according to a report by AltaTerra.

The report, “Enterprise Sustainability Management Solutions: Reference Architecture and Buyers Guide”, says that IT for sustainability, energy, and environmental resource management is developing rapidly. The market is complex, with software on several different levels, and a mix of established players and new entrants are offering both broad and specialized platforms.

AltaTerra delineates the complex sustainability software market with a six-level “reference architecture” (see chart). The levels range from enterprise-wide sustainability management and reporting down to minute-by-minute optimization of energy and resource use, product and workplace regulatory compliance, and a range of related operating processes.

“Sustainability goes deeper than management-level reporting,” the report says. “At the day-to-day operations level, organizations seek to improve energy efficiency in facilities, reduce production and supply-chain impacts, enhance environmental performance in products and services, and pursue other strategic priorities.”

At the same time, AltaTerra says the sustainability agenda is rapidly changing the practice of enterprise management, requiring new operating processes and types of information.

And increasingly, AltaTerra says, companies’ sustainability management is reaching beyond their walls to include suppliers and customers. For IT departments, this can be a paradigm shift, because it requires thinking that spans traditional boundaries between enterprise systems and between facilities.

Given the range of sustainability software applications, and requirements that vary significantly by sector and by companies’ operational characteristics, AltaTerra says there is no clear leader in the market. Providers CA, Enablon, EnerNOC, Enviance, Hara, IHS, SAP, Tririga/IBM and Verisae all lead in one or more of four distinct market segments, the report says.

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