We met with David Metcalfe, one of the founders and a Director at Verdantix this week. David will be familiar to you from his Forrester Research analyst and vice-president roles over eight years.
Verdantix is a traditional analyst research company in its business model, but it is far from that when it comes to its research and reach. Verdantix’ aim is to help business and technology leaders (although it is not primarily focused on IT) in all industry sectors make the best decisions on climate change, carbon markets and corporate responsibility.
David’s view is that the role of IT and the role of technology providers in “climate change” is probably very small since the concentration of most current solutions is on reducing energy usage rather than on the more substantial impacts of regulatory and economic issues. You would not think he was right given the explosion of products and services on green IT by vendors and the volume of research by analyst houses – it seems like this is a solution searching for a problem rather than the other way around. But if you are an AR organisation leading analyst outreach around your company’s green IT solutions maybe you should be finding out why this is so much bigger a business issue and then you might just be able to help your company break out from the pack.
The premise that Verdantix sets out is that real solutions on climate change mean helping organizations take steps towards enterprise transformation to enable them to survive and grow in the changing global climate. A climate in which potentially everything changes: from how people-based businesses rethink moving their executives around the world to how global and regional energy policies affect all businesses and economies to the major change impending the energy and transport-based industries. His research company has some other innovations too. Like not being slow to evaluate vendors and evaluating them (for the most part) as immature, like giving away for free the evaluation “green quadrant” and only charging for the research paper supporting it, like recruiting end users to form panels for surveying and more critically being the key external market rater of vendors (Verdantix refutes the value of interviewing vendors one or two “best” client references).
Being based in Europe, Verdantix believes it is starting in the right place, the US is at least 2/3 years behind Europe in addressing climate change. In Europe, there are already 11,000 industrial sites affected by relevant EU legislation and in 2009, 5,000 UK organizations like universities, hotel chains, retail banks and government departments will be legally obliged to measure, manage and report on their emissions. On discussing the future growth potential for his business, David was enthusiastic but cautious, noting that it is not until we approach 2011, when legislation starts aggressively “biting”, that the majority will start taking climate change impacts seriously enough at the top. However, so long as CO2 concentrations keep on increasing, then this business’ own “Moores Law” engine of growth means that over the next 5 years Verdantix should expand significantly and you will likely see their success driving others to move to take a piece of the market.
We wish David and Verdantix well, we like their strategy, we like their research and we like their ambition. You should all contact Verdantix and form your own view.