Looking for a green IT services expert? The field is narrowing

(Updated on Dec. 24, 2010, to reflect new information from KPMG.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

(Updated on Dec. 24, 2010, to reflect new information from KPMG.)

There are plenty of green technology sectors ripe for merger and acquisition activities, including the services sector. The latest evidence? Deloitte's disclosure this week that it will acquire not one but two companies in the sustainability consulting space: ClearCarbon Consulting and DOMANI Sustainability Consulting.

Here's the rationale for the deal, as expressed in the press release by Jessica Blume, national managing principal for research and innovation at Deloitte:

"Deloitte has identified the sustainability services market as a key growth area. As an emerging offering, the acquisitions of ClearCarbon and DOMANI will further strengthen Deloitte's ability to help clients drive value, mitigate business risk, and drive growth, efficiency and innovation through improved environmental, social and financial performance."

Here are the buckets of services that will be filled with talent from the buyouts:

  • Focus on energy supply, demand and efficiency
  • Water consumption planning
  • Carbon and greenhouse gas management
  • Corporate social responsibility reporting

Increasingly, these are areas being driven by new categories of software application and management tools, so it is not surprising that Deloitte is making this play. By the way, this is not its first acquisition in this space: it already bought dcarbon8 (get it!), which is a consultancy in the United Kingdom.

Forrester Research identified sustainability strategy as a new landscape for business innovation in its report published earlier this year: "Capitalizing on the Sustainability Consulting Services Opportunity." In it, the research firm sizes this market at approximately $9.6 billion by 2015, and it focuses on 25 different IT services players who are vying for a role. The reason you should care as an IT person is because these are many of the same companies vying for your business for their more traditional IT services.

Here's what Forrester has to say about some of the pure IT services companies focused on this space. I'm not including the telecommunications company services arms or the divisions of technology vendors that are also selling products. The companies are listed alphabetically.

  • Accenture: An early mover that has already created 17 dedicated sustainability services offerings, such as trust and stakeholder management.
  • Atos Origin: Recently put a global practice in place and has a strong partner ecosystem, including non-profit organizations.
  • Booz & Company: Another early mover that has embedded sustainability experts into its other functional practices (infiltration versus specialization).
  • Capgemini: Focused not just on sustainability, but on energy management activities, including a home-focused solution. Has developed three-phase engagement process.
  • Cognizant: Offers six specific green IT services including a readiness assessment, green infrastructure design, business process management and paperless office, energy and carbon management, green supply chain and application portfolio rationalization.
  • CSC: Focused on its traditional strengths in public sector and government accounts; one of its strongest sustainability practices is an end-to-end solution for supply chain offered with SAP.
  • EcomNets: A specialized service provider focused exclusively on green IT, with offices in Herndon, Va., as well as India and the United Kingdom. It focuses on the things you would expect from a green IT practice such as data center virtualization and power management.
  • Infosys Technologies: Focused on five areas including sustainability risk assessment, carbon accounting and reporting, IT infrastructure, physical infrastructure, and industry-specific supply chain applications.
  • ITC Infotech: Mainly focused on Asia Pacific market, but planning global expansion.
  • KPMG: Forrester's report notes that the company just named sustainability specialists in 2010. A KPMG spokesman notes that it has been helping corporations with their sustainability reporting activities since the 1990s, particularly in Europe. KPMG moved in 2010 to reorganized those specialists under a global framework, Climate Change and Sustainability Services.
  • Logica: Sustainability is one of three top priorities, along with security and cloud computing services. Energy and mobility are a particular focus.
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers: Helping larger companies tie sustainability practices to corporate financial value.
  • Tata Consultancy Services: Has an Eco-Sustainability unit that focuses on green IT, green enterprise and green supply chain/business process processes.
  • Wipro: Formed its sustainability consulting unit in 2007 with a focus on discovery, IT-for-green solutions, sustainability product development, sustainable infrastructure and green IT.

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