Business Brains

Should you outsource sustainability data collection?

Posting in Energy

New service line from CA Technologies and Capgemini promises to help businesses better manage the collection of complicated energy and carbon footprint information.

It has become increasingly clear over the past year that despite good intentions, many businesses -- especially midsize ones that don't yet have a sophisticated business intelligence or data analytics infrastructure in place -- are having a devil of a time collecting data on their true energy efficiency or carbon footprint exposure. That's why you will hear more from the classic technology services companies about services meant to help companies with this thorny challenge.

The latest example is a service from software company CA Technologies and technology services company Capgemini. The two have created what they are calling a global Energy, Carbon and Sustainability Business Process Outsourcing service that combines the CA ecoSoftware carbon and energy management application with analysis and workflow from Capgemini.

The two companies say their service will offer "actionable insight" about a company's level of sustainability, but collecting energy and carbon data with ecoSoftware and offering it to appropriate sustainability managers via Web-based reports. The service has been tested by Capgemini UK, where the companies say it has helped reduce the costs associated with this data by 30 percent. I'm guessing that estimate includes all the time that people waste hunting down individual spreadsheets, manually entering data and then chasing stragglers, and finding errors.

Says Tony Kelly, new business services director at Capgemini BPO:

"Capgemini has always embraced innovation in its BPO services development and we are finding our clients' back office needs increasingly include sustainability data management and reporting. So a new managed service is a logical extension of our strength in finance and accounting and supply chain services BPO. Capgemini selected the CA ecoSoftware solution because it can meet the needs and scale of our global enterprise clients."

If your company isn't in the habit of doing stuff like this in-house, collecting the information you need for sustainability strategy management may actually be served via one of your existing business process outsourcing relationships. Does your current partner have the expertise it needs to extend its services into the concerns of energy and carbon management?

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure