Saturday, April 11, 2009

Carbon Accounting - an opportunity for Workday?

In a recent InfoWorld article, the crucial role of IT in the solving the climate crisis is described in two dimensions:
* measuring CO2 emissions
* reducing the carbon footprint of enterprises

With a cap-and-trade agreement drawing closer and closer, the need to measure the emissions is very clear. Lots of companies will look for ways to comply to the new regulations and an assessment of their current footprint will become an immediate requirement. Several companies are starting to offer solutions already. Some might be rudimentary, but the concept is there. Note that several of these companies are already in the Workday eco-system:
* ILOG (our Flex graphics provider)
* Rackspace (our online email provider)
* Microsoft (strategic partner)

More comprehensive solutions are being worked on by interesting startups such as Greenstone.

The reduction of CO2 emissions of an enterprise can be accomplished in a wide variety of ways. The SaaS delivery model with its highly efficient hosting environments provides a good way to reduce IT-based emmissions. Workday plays a very positive role in this dimension already. Our customers can turn off their on-premise servers and rely on our data centers. Carbon offsets for our energy consumption could complete the footprint reduction for our customers.

But how about the measurement dimension? Workday already is the system of record for all accounting activity, why not carbon accounting? Could integration to upcoming hosted carbon-measurement systems make a difference? Is there a strategic opportunity for us to pursue?

The Microsoft environmental dashboard extension is an interesting data point. Warren Wilson, research director with London-based market researcher Ovum, said other major ERP vendors, including SAP and Oracle, as well as smaller players are building a range of tools to measure carbon emissions. I had a phone call with Warren about 9 months ago where was inquiring about Workday's interest in this topic. I believe our interest could be sparked by the increasing market demand.

No comments: