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The news that Microsoft is adopting CarbonSystems’ technology to manage its environmental-performance reporting is great news for the aggressive newcomer to the US market.
The announcement this week will surprise those who may not have heard of the company, despite the fact that it has won over 110 clients globally, including at least 25 majors since entering the sustainability software market just three years ago.
The better-known companies in this fast-growing software market include familiar brands like CA Technologies, IBM, SAP, Johnson Controls and Schenider Electric.
Other new entrants include the likes of Hara and C3, which have made headlines off the back of well-publicized capital raisings or because they have attracted high profile advisory board members.
So what’s the real significance in this deal? In my view there are three ramifications worth noting:
First, the deal represents a coming of age for CarbonSystems in the US. It will further crystallize the view in many minds that we are truly a global player in the enterprise energy, carbon and sustainability software market with production customers on four continents.
This is more than rhetoric. Microsoft selected CarbonSystems as its vendor of choice ahead of more than 30 software vendors across the globe following an extensive, rigorous tender process.
What’s more, Microsoft’s chief environmental strategist, Rob Bernard, has made it clear that he views us as a key part of Microsoft’s effort to achieve important new business and environmental sustainability goals.
Put simply, the deployment of our software solution will allow Microsoft to track key environmental indicators and performance across its portfolio of real estate and data center assets. This will enable the company to accurately assess opportunities for energy efficiency initiatives whilst at the same time providing a mechanism to track the impact, payback period and return on investment of such initiatives.
The deal will therefore put us on the radar of large companies across the world that are seeking a proven software offering that lets them achieve first class sustainability management and performance goals.
A second point to note is that the deal will no doubt help enhance our technology platform as we deploy in a diverse, multinational environment such as Microsoft.
Despite our depth of our experience in many sectors (corporate property, banking and finance, retail, logistics, mining, manufacturing, healthcare and education), Microsoft’s breadth and complexity of real estate assets will inevitably push us to create more and better technology enhancements to the benefit of all our clients. We know this from the experience of working with many of our other world class clients, such as Canon, Fuji, GPT Group and Colliers International.
Finally, the deal holds potential for a closer strategic alignment that could generate many synergies for both companies.
We believe the potential of the nascent enterprise sustainability software industry will hinge on the ability to handle large, diverse volumes of nonfinancial data – such as energy, fuel, emissions, waste, water, and climatic information – and to provide cloud based applications that support businesses in making intelligent decisions impacting their financial and environmental performance.
This market dynamic dovetails with the suite of applications, analytics and data management capabilities Microsoft is bringing to market through Windows Azure – its enterprise-grade cloud platform that lets customers employ software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions around the world.
Microsoft’s adoption of CarbonSystems' software complements its goal of leveraging technology to reduce energy use, emissions, and waste by harnessing data to make more informed decisions about the company’s resource use.
More broadly, I think there will be opportunities for the two companies to foster greater efficiency in the business sector by bringing data-centric applications like ours to address issues such as enterprise resource accounting, energy optimization, and smart building technology.
Ralph Breslauer heads CarbonSystems' operations in the Americas.
Working in collaboration with CarbonSystems, we were able to develop an overarching data entry sheet specifically for online-NGERS reporting. This in turn took any confusion out of the data entry at the front end I believe we can even further streamline the process for the next reporting period.
James Peacock, Executive Manager, Environmental Sustainability, CBA.