Tag: ESG and Sustainability

CIOs Rise to the ESG Reporting Challenge | In the News

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting is proving to be a complex endeavor founded in data. And that’s putting CIOs at the center of these increasingly important initiatives.

CIOs — who sign nearly half of all net-zero services deals with top providers, according to Everest Group analyst Meenakshi Narayanan — are uniquely positioned to spearhead data-enabled transformation for ESG reporting given their data-driven track records.

Read more in CIO.

“IT in a Box” Edge Model: The Next Frontier of Edge Computing | Blog

Edge computing has great potential beyond local data centers. By integrating the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML), and neuromorphic chips with edge computing, a revolutionary shift toward a comprehensive distributed cloud model, “IT in a Box,” could be on the horizon. Learn about the 3E design principles of this advanced edge model and its many benefits in this blog, and feel free to reach out to us to explore this topic further.

Edge locations are often associated with local data centers and primarily involve deploying idle servers closer to end users, facilitating data localization, and minimizing latency. However, a critical question arises: Does the existing edge solution offer differentiation from a conventional data center? The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding no.

Conventional edge model = data center

Today, edge locations are commonly perceived as sheer extensions of availability zones, employed to reduce latency through data localization. Despite major players’ efforts to integrate edge with advanced technologies, questions persist about the processing capabilities and scalability of these edge locations and more.

  • Hyperscalers integrate IoT, AI/ML, and next-generation security and network capabilities with edge, yet questions linger about the potential of these edge locations
  • Telecom providers leverage 5G to enhance edge networks and deploy radios and computing capabilities but again face deployment and scalability challenges
  • Technology vendors also struggle with enhancing processing, managing complex edge devices, storing data at edge locations, and developing industry-specific use cases. Still, the question remains, is that all an edge location could do?

Deficiencies in the conventional edge model

While efforts have consistently been made to enhance the intelligent edge, the current edge model falls short in establishing distinct features that could elevate it beyond its current limitations. The prevailing challenges associated with the edge include:

  1. The proliferation of edge locations around the globe has inadvertently led to increased real estate demands, hardware costs, energy consumption, and carbon emissions
  2. Due to limited edge storage and processing capabilities, there is a constant need to shuttle data back and forth between the edge and centralized cloud data centers. This poses a significant hurdle in use cases requiring real-time decision-making
  3. The distributed nature of the edge environment also adds complexity to management and orchestration

Reimagining the edge model beyond a local data center

Edge computing’s promise extends far beyond a “mere data center in your neighborhood.” The current issues require an AI and IoT integrated edge with substantial data processing, large storage capacity, efficient network connectivity, and tight security. This type of solution should replicate at scale and thwart modern cybersecurity threats, all while delivering superior speed information to the end user.

Enter the game-changer in next-generation computation: neuromorphic chips. These chips process information in a human brain-like manner, offering a revolutionary leap in edge computing capabilities. Imagine compressing edge real estate without compromising processing power – that’s where the neuromorphic chip can be the key element for the intelligent edge.

In the not-so-distant future, the fusion of IoT, AI/ML, and neuromorphic chips with edge could signal a paradigm shift, consequently forming a comprehensive distributed cloud model or “IT in a Box.”

The 3E Design Principle of “IT in a Box”

The 3E design principle underpinning “IT in a Box” is based on three core principles that form the foundation for its design and implementation: balancing efficiency, economy, and empowerment. This creates a powerful and adaptive edge computing model that effortlessly weaves together the threads of sustainability, scalability, accuracy, and security.

Let’s look at each of these principles in more detail.

  • Efficiency – This principle of “IT in a Box” takes center stage, redefining processing, storage, and information delivery at the edge. Imagine a symphony of sensors, intricately integrated in the edge environment, tirelessly collecting and sending data. These sensors gather information that is sophisticatedly analyzed right at the edge location. The result? Swift, precise, and accurate insights without the need for a laborious journey to centralized cloud hubs
  • Economy – This principle emphasizes the importance of cost-effectiveness and sustainability working together. At the heart of this lies the strategic integration of advanced technologies with neuromorphic chips and efficient platforms. “IT in a Box” aims to create a world where the edge requires less physical footprint, reducing real estate requirements. This cost-efficient proposition also aligns with the broader goal of sustainable expansion. It’s about making high-performance computing accessible not just to giants, but to a broader spectrum of industries and applications
  • Empowerment – This principle promises intelligent autonomy and tailor-made solutions. It is not only about processing, storing, and delivering data but also about empowering edge locations with accelerated decision-making abilities that reflect the unique needs of diverse businesses. Hence, this principle uncovers a vast landscape of industry-specific and micro-vertical use cases from healthcare and manufacturing to retail and finance. Picture a smart factory where edge devices autonomously optimize production processes based on real-time data analysis, or consider a healthcare system where patient monitoring happens seamlessly at the edge. “IT in a Box” becomes a strategic partner, enabling businesses to swiftly respond to changing scenarios

Benefits of the “IT in a Box” Edge Model

The benefits of “IT in a Box” are wide-ranging, contributing significantly to the operational efficiency, strategic value, and overall success of enterprises. Among the advantages are:

  • It not only ushers in a new era of accessibility but also facilitates the rapid and cost-effective deployment of smaller edge locations, transcending the boundaries of metropolises and extending to tier X cities
  • The power of “IT in a Box” lies in its ability to process and store vast volumes of data at the edge. This equates to unprecedented speeds in delivering crucial information and, more importantly, provides a welcome relief for central cloud data centers burdened by heavy loads
  • The deployment of highly autonomous edge devices is a reality for “IT in a Box.” Devices are equipped with the capability for large-scale analysis, intelligent decision-making, and real-time reporting – all taking place immediately at the edge
  • With “IT in a Box,” most of the data no longer needs to travel to centralized infrastructure, boosting privacy and security as it stays close to the source
  • “IT in a Box” isn’t just about efficacy but also sustainability. It paves the way for a greener tech future with mindful energy use and low carbon emissions

The future of “IT in a Box” revolutionizing industries

In the not-so-distant future, “IT in a Box” holds immense potential for micro-vertical applications that can revolutionize various industries, such as:

  • Autonomous vehicles – Imagine a driverless car enabled by the above elements. It would process data in proximity, resulting in improved sensor fusion, adaptability, and learning, making driverless cars more efficient, safe, and responsive
  • Virtual healthcare – These benefits facilitate effective remote monitoring of vital signs and health parameters with immediate analysis of data, resulting in quick health anomaly diagnosis
  • Smart cities – Video feeds from surveillance cameras can be processed locally, identifying potential security threats in real time and promptly alerting concerned local authorities

These micro-vertical use cases cut across the 3E design principles of “IT in a Box.” As the convergence of various technologies matures, the potential for innovation and micro-vertical use cases across industries becomes vast. Indeed, the future holds the potential for sensors with embedded neuromorphic chips that can process and analyze information on-the-spot, rather than near the source.

Please feel free to reach out to [email protected] or [email protected] to share any questions and your thoughts about the potential of this evolution in edge computing.

Building a Sustainable Future: Reflections on COP28 and Insights for 2024 | LinkedIn Live

LINKEDIN LIVE

Building a Sustainable Future: Reflections on COP28 and Insights for 2024

View the event on LinkedIn, which was delivered live on Thursday, December 14, 2023.

Watch this LinkedIn Live event to hear from Everest Group analysts Rita N. Soni and Nitish Mittal, and Sustainability and Climate Change Expert Babiche Veenendaal-Westerbrink. 🎙️

The speakers reflected on the progress made in 2023 to build a more sustainable future, the key takeaways from the COP28 conference – the 28th annual meeting of the international community to discuss and implement ways to combat climate change – and the outlook for 2024.

During the event, we explored:

✅ Key takeaways from COP28
✅ The 2024 sustainability outlook with a focus on technology, data, and operations implications
✅ How Everest Group is helping businesses plan and adopt strategies for a more viable future 🌱

Watch this session to gain profound insights into the challenges and opportunities ahead! 🔍

Meet the Presenters

Mittal Nitish
Partner
Everest Group
Soni Rita B
Principal Analyst
Everest Group
Babiche Veenendaal Westerbrink 003
Sustainability and Climate Change Expert

A Bright Start at COP28: Progress and Pledges for a Sustainable Future with Technology as a Key Enabler | Blog

Our Everest Group team is pleased to share their analysis of positive developments from the first two days of COP28, with a specific focus on the global technology and tech services industries, in this blog. With positive momentum building, the outlook in the collective journey toward a more sustainable future is looking brighter.

Day 1: A historic leap forward

Creation of the loss and damage fund for the global south

The first day of COP28 was nothing short of historic. The formal creation of the Loss and Damage Fund for the Global South was a key highlight. This initiative marks a crucial step in addressing the disproportionate impact of climate change on vulnerable nations. The commitment of US$400 million in pledges is a testament to the global community’s dedication to creating a more equitable and resilient world.

Contributions from multiple nations to support climate adaptation in vulnerable regions

Notable contributors to the fund include the COP28 hosts, the UAE, with a generous pledge of US$100 million. Germany and the US also stepped up, pledging US$100 million and US$17 million, respectively. The UK, demonstrating its commitment to climate action, pledged £60 million. These pledges will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in supporting climate adaptation and mitigation efforts in the most vulnerable regions.

What does this mean for the sustainability enablement services market?

The funding can act as a political push for these nations to adopt technology to enable sustainable businesses and mitigate climate risks. Currently, Everest Group has observed a surge in sustainability technology adoption in developing countries. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data reporting, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven crop management, and Internet of Things (IoT)-led water management solutions are gaining traction. Evolving reporting standards and the imperative for climate-resilient business practices will drive the scalability of sustainability-enabling technologies in these regions.

Day 2: The United States takes center stage by addressing methane management as a crucial step for reaching net zero emissions

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces regulations on methane leaks

The second day of COP28 brought a wave of positive news, particularly from the United States. Michael S. Regan, Administrator of the EPA, announced groundbreaking regulations aimed at addressing leaks of greenhouse gases (GHGs) like methane. Methane, the second most abundant greenhouse gas, contributes significantly to global warming.

Methane management requires predictive technologies and strict reporting frameworks

Efficient methane management requires precise methane measurement and prioritizing reporting. While the EPA has taken an important step towards regulating methane leaks, methane-emitting industries (like oil and gas) need to move towards a ‘predict and prevent’ model of methane management. These industries should leverage AI and IoT-based methane management platforms that track and measure methane emissions and prevent methane leaks using predictive analytics.

Duke Energy, for example, has collaborated with Accenture and Microsoft to build a first-of-its-kind, end-to-end Azure-based cloud platform that monitors baseline methane emissions from natural gas distribution assets (e.g., pipelines, gas meters), using satellite monitoring, analytics, and AI.

Industry coalitions underpin methane management, as players recognize the value of collaboration in reaching net zero emissions

The Global Decarbonization Accelerator, a coalition of 50 oil and gas companies representing over 40% of global production, made a resounding commitment to reduce methane emissions by 80-90% by 2030. This ambitious pledge demonstrates a growing industry recognition of the urgent need to transition towards cleaner and more sustainable practices.

In addition to industry commitments and public sector regulation, philanthropic efforts also took the spotlight. Bloomberg Philanthropies unveiled a $40 million program focused on transparency and accountability in methane reduction initiatives. This program is a crucial step towards ensuring that efforts to curb methane emissions are not only ambitious but also measurable and accountable. We see the potential for scaled partnerships with the private sector. A model of shared responsibility and accountability, with collaboration as a central vision, is necessary for methane mitigation.

What does this mean for the sustainability enablement services market?

The players in the sustainability enablement services landscape can expect higher demand for net zero services, along with solutions like emission management platforms and tools. Technology players and service providers should focus on forming collaborations with their client groups to advance research and pilot more solutions in this space.

Moving forward with optimism

As we reflect on the first two days of COP28, it is clear that we are witnessing a historic turning point in the global fight against climate change. The establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund, coupled with significant pledges, coalitions, and regulatory advancements, sends a powerful message that the world is ready to take bold action.

Everest Group constituents in the global technology and technology services industries have an important role to play in these efforts. We remain committed to helping providers navigate the sustainability enablement opportunity to help guide their clients toward a more resilient and environmentally conscious future.

As we continue our journey through COP28, let’s remain optimistic and committed to the shared goal of a sustainable and resilient future. Together, we can turn these pledges into impactful actions that will benefit not only our current generation but also those to come. Reach out to Rita Soni, [email protected], Arpita Dwivedi, [email protected], Meenakshi Narayanan, [email protected], or Ambika Kini, [email protected] for further discussion.

To learn more about key takeaways from the COP28 conference, watch our LinkedIn Live session, Building a Sustainable Future: Reflections on COP28 and Insights for 2024.

Delivery with Purpose: A Guide for Service Providers in Impact Sourcing | Virtual Roundtable

Virtual Roundtable

Delivery with Purpose: A Guide for Service Providers in Impact Sourcing

December 7, 2023 |
9 AM EST | 7:30 PM IST

Traditional IT and business process services (BPS) service providers are becoming more intentional in creating and activating career opportunities in underserved communities.

By identifying previously untapped talent pools that can provide leverage in various roles across the outsourcing industry, impact sourcing can create both inward (business) and outward (social) impact for service provider organizations.

Join Everest Group experts and Sustainability Fellows for an engaging discussion on creating meaningful and intentional impact sourcing programs that benefit both the business and the community. Together and with your peers, we will discuss what is needed to implement impact sourcing and how to be an agent of positive change in your community.

Participants will:

• Learn what peak impact sourcing looks like
• Explore foundational frameworks to design an impact sourcing program
• Uncover what success looks like
• Engage in a discussion around policy and best practices
• Discuss ways to steer the buyers’ mindset toward impact sourcing

Who should attend?

• Services provider stakeholders
• Internal diversity and inclusion leaders
• Sustainability leaders

Virtual Roundtable Guidelines

The only price of admission is participation. Attendees should be prepared to share their experiences and be willing to engage in discourse.

Everest Group will approve each attendance request to ensure an appropriate group size and mix of participants. The sessions are 90 minutes in duration and include introductions, a short presentation, and a facilitated discussion.

Dutta Anik
Senior Analyst
Everest Group
Singh Prateek
Practice Director
Everest Group
Soni Rita B
Principal Analyst, Impact Sourcing & Sustainability Research

Promoting Advanced Technologies at COP28 Can Propel Immediate Energy Optimization Action | Blog

As nations gather at COP28, prioritizing technology-driven optimization can pave the way for sustainable energy progression. Explore how advanced energy monitoring and optimization technologies can help enterprises transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

Note, this blog is part of Everest Group’s continued coverage of COP28. For our analysis of the first two days of the United Nations Climate Change conference, see our prior posting.

COP28 marks a crucial moment for discussions on moving from fossil fuels to renewables. This year’s meeting is especially important as nations reveal their plans for tackling climate change. The urgency is clear, highlighted by the Global Stocktake revealing the world is falling short of the Paris Agreement goals. COP28 is a key moment for the energy sector, offering an opportunity for governments to make bold commitments and speed up the transition.

In this context, enterprises worldwide are increasingly recognizing the imperative to transition towards renewable energy sources, driven by both environmental concerns and a growing commitment to sustainable practices. The appeal of renewables, such as solar and wind power, lies in their potential to mitigate climate change and reduce dependence on finite fossil fuels. However, despite this burgeoning enthusiasm, enterprises encounter a myriad of constraints in their quest for increased renewable energy adoption. Let’s explore this further.

Enterprises face these major obstacles in realizing their ambitious energy transition agenda:

  • High initial investment costs: The transition to renewable energy often involves significant upfront capital expenditures for the installation of solar panels, wind turbines, or other clean energy infrastructure. Many enterprises, particularly smaller businesses, find it challenging to justify these initial costs despite the long-term benefits
  • Intermittency and reliability concerns: Some renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, are intermittent and dependent on weather conditions. This unpredictability can lead to concerns about the reliability of energy supply, especially for businesses that require a continuous and stable power source
  • Regulatory hurdles and policy uncertainty: Enterprises operating in different regions face varying regulatory frameworks and policies related to renewable energy. Inconsistent or unclear regulations can create uncertainty and hinder long-term planning for energy transition strategies
  • Limited availability of suitable infrastructure: The implementation of renewable energy projects often requires ample space and specific geographical conditions. Finding suitable land or locations for solar farms, wind turbines, or other renewable facilities can be a logistical challenge, particularly in densely populated areas where land is scarce or expensive

Amidst these challenges, the shift from fossil fuels to renewables finds a bridge in the optimization and monitoring of existing energy usage through advanced technologies. Leading enterprises have started joining forces with tech players and service providers to track and enhance energy efficiency in operations, paving the way for a sustainable energy transition.

Despite a booming market in sustainability enablement services offering advanced energy-efficient solutions, enterprises hesitate due to cost concerns. Yet, key players are actively investing in cutting-edge technologies to drive energy efficiency for their clients.

Three standout solutions have emerged at the forefront of major players’ sustainability services portfolios:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT)-based energy monitoring: Revolutionizing energy optimization, IoT and AI-based systems offer real-time insights into consumption patterns. Smart sensors and meters seamlessly integrate into a connected network, continuously collecting detailed data. AI algorithms analyze this information, unveiling inefficiencies, anomalies, and optimization opportunities. The power of predictive analytics forecasts future energy demands, enabling proactive measures to mitigate inefficiencies and cut overall consumption. Infosys Energy Management Solution and TCS Clever Energy are examples of energy monitoring and tracking systems
  • AI-driven predictive maintenance: With artificial intelligence, predictive maintenance transforms energy optimization by foreseeing and addressing equipment issues before performance impact. Historical and real-time data analysis allows AI algorithms to predict faults, facilitating timely interventions that prevent unexpected downtime and associated energy inefficiencies. This data-driven, proactive approach reshapes traditional maintenance paradigms, significantly contributing to enhanced energy efficiency and operational excellence. Capgemini’s predictive asset maintenance services and Accenture’s intelligent asset management services are examples of AI-driven predictive maintenance solutions for enterprises
  • Occupancy and building management with AI: AI-driven systems for occupancy and building management contribute to energy efficiency by intelligently regulating lighting, heating, and cooling based on real-time occupancy data. Smart sensors and AI algorithms learn patterns of occupancy, preferences, and environmental conditions to optimize energy usage in commercial buildings. Infosys’ Smart Spaces offering focuses on energy efficiency for commercial buildings, data centers, and workspaces. Hitachi’s Intelligent Building Management System also focuses on making buildings more energy efficient

Service providers have started crafting umbrella brands for sustainability services, with energy monitoring taking center stage in their portfolios. While energy monitoring and reporting systems are branded as niche sustainability solutions, the environmental impact of solutions like predictive maintenance and smart building management systems are significant. As enterprises intensify net-zero commitments, we foresee a surge in demand for these solutions, with a special focus on sustainability. We are optimistic about the market, with a tinge of prudence.

While sophisticated energy monitoring and optimization solutions are plentiful, enterprises hesitate to invest in sustainability technologies due to perceived high costs and short-term return concerns. However, service providers are strategically bundling sustainability benefits with operational optimization engagements, along with providing niche energy-related solutions to enterprises.

Everest Group anticipates a surge in the energy-efficiency solutions market within the next two to three years. The forthcoming focus on energy efficiency at COP28 could serve as the catalyst needed to propel this market into flourishing growth.

To discuss further, reach out to Rita Soni, [email protected], Arpita Dwivedi, [email protected], Meenakshi Narayanan, [email protected], or Ambika Kini, [email protected].

To learn more about the progress made in 2023 to build a more sustainable future and key takeaways from the COP28 conference, watch our LinkedIn Live session, Building a Sustainable Future: Reflections on COP28 and Insights for 2024.

A Comprehensive Approach to Meeting the Talent Demands of Sustainability Services | Blog

As the sustainability sector rapidly expands, the demand for skilled professionals is soaring. Read on to learn about the skill requirements needed in the sustainability service market and how to bridge the talent gap.

In recent years, the world has witnessed a remarkable surge in awareness regarding environmental responsibility and sustainability. This shift in mindset has fueled the growth of the sustainability services market as organizations increasingly recognize the need to adopt eco-friendly practices.

Yet, as the sustainability sector continues to evolve, service providers confront a formidable challenge in the form of a critical shortage of skilled talent. In this blog, we will delve into the pressing talent-related issues faced by sustainability service providers and explore the innovative ways they are addressing these deficiencies through avenues like strategic hiring, acqui-hiring, and upskilling.

The diverse skill set required

The field of sustainability services presents a multifaceted landscape of skills and expertise that are in high demand. For instance, service providers in this sector require professionals who can proficiently handle advanced data analytics to assess environmental impacts. A comprehensive understanding of sustainability reporting frameworks is also imperative, as is the ability to conduct climate scenario analysis and risk assessment.

In essence, the diversity of skill sets required encompasses environmental science, economics, engineering, and a commitment to sustainability that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Challenges in finding talent

As service providers look to recruit skilled sustainability experts, they are finding themselves up against significant roadblocks, including:

  • A limited pool of professionals: Sustainability services is a relatively new field, and professionals with the required experience and expertise are scarce
  • An evolving landscape: The sustainability sector is continuously evolving, with new technologies and frameworks emerging regularly. This makes it challenging to find candidates who can keep up with the rapidly changing landscape
  • Cross-disciplinary requirements: The interdisciplinary nature of sustainability work makes it difficult to find candidates with expertise in all the required areas

Addressing the talent gap

Bridging the talent gap for sustainability services requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses strategic recruitment and upskilling.

  1. Strategic hiring

Sustainability service providers are looking for candidates who may not have a perfect match of skills but possess a strong foundation and are open to learning and adapting. Most of the sustainability professionals being hired hold a master’s degree, with almost 78% coming from a STEM background.

Everest Group’s GREEN framework provides a comprehensive approach to talent development in sustainability services, addressing geographic considerations, regulatory expertise, educational diversity, practical experience, and technological innovation to meet the increasing demand in this field.

Everest Group’s GREEN framework

Service providers like Accenture, which have an aggressive inorganic growth philosophy, focus more on acqui-hiring, the practice of acquiring smaller companies primarily to gain access to their talent. It allows providers to quickly expand their workforce and access niche expertise.

However, prioritizing upskilling as a long-term strategy emerges as a more effective approach for tackling the talent gap.

  1. Upskilling the workforce

Service providers have a multitude of options to support their employees in their upskilling endeavors. These include motivating employees to pursue external certifications, offering internally designed courses, and tying up with learning and development providers.

    • Industry-accredited certifications – Sustainability certifications are a testament to a thorough grasp of pertinent industry benchmarks, elevating professionals’ standing within their respective domains. The selection of a certification largely depends on the particular domain of sustainability and the career aspirations of the individual. These certifications could be general sustainability and climate professional certifications, sustainability reporting courses, energy-related certifications, green building certifications, etc.
    • Internal courses – Service providers often develop an internal catalog of courses to educate their workforce on sustainability and related aspects. These courses can be aimed at executive leadership, normal workforce, or both. Deloitte offers a curriculum of sustainability training courses available to all its employees virtually and through the network of Deloitte Universities
    • Collaboration with educational institutions – By working closely with universities and colleges, they can shape curricula to align with industry requirements, ensuring that graduates are better prepared for the workforce. These partnerships also offer internships and co-op programs that provide students with hands-on experience and job opportunities upon graduation. Capgemini Invent, for example, has leveraged the ESSEC Business School for various courses, including one on the foundations of sustainable transformation

After creating the talent pool required, building the ideal organizational structure becomes imperative for maximizing the potential of the sustainability enablement services talent. The organization can streamline business initiatives by aligning roles, responsibilities, and workflows, enabling seamless collaboration among experts from diverse backgrounds.

To explore the above strategies in detail, check out our viewpoint: A Provider’s Playbook to Bridging the Sustainability Skills Gap. This report sheds light on the sourcing, skilling, and organizational structuring strategies tailored to the unique needs of service providers in the sustainability space. To discuss further or for inquiries, please reach out to Rita Soni, Principal Analyst, Sustainability Research and Impact Sourcing, [email protected], Arpita Dwivedi, Practice Director, Sustainability and Talent, [email protected], or Ambika Kini, Senior Analyst, Sustainability Technology and Services, [email protected].

To hear our takeaways from Cop28 watch our LinkedIn Live session, Building a Sustainable Future: Reflections on COP28 and Insights for 2024.

Navigating COP28: Insights on the Evolving Landscape of Sustainability | Blog

As we stand on the brink of COP28 (November 30 to December 12, 2023), Everest Group’s technology service provider clients and industry leaders are poised to play a pivotal role in advancing the goals set forth by the Paris Agreement. In this blog, we bring you insights from Everest Group’s sustainability analysts on their hopes and expectations for this crucial global event.

As the world anticipates COP28, Everest Group’s insights shed light on the evolving sustainability landscape. Nothing could underpin the importance more than the fact that the first Global Stocktake (GST) of the implementation of the Paris Agreement will conclude at COP28, the mid-point in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs, including Goal 13 (climate action). We will explore key expectations that underscore the crucial role of technology service providers in meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement, which we hope will be central in the COP28 deliberations.

As a reminder, there was a broad global consensus that COP28 will focus on four significant paradigm shifts:

  • Fast-tracking the energy transition and slashing emissions before 2030
  • Transforming climate finance, by delivering on old promises and setting the framework for a new deal on finance
  • Putting nature, people, lives, and livelihoods at the heart of climate action
  • Mobilizing for the most inclusive COP ever

With this context, we look forward to progress on five key topics:

  1. Digital transformation for sustainability:

The role of digital transformation in achieving sustainability goals is critical. Our research highlights the transformative power of technology in reducing carbon footprints, enhancing energy efficiency, and driving sustainable practices across sectors as diverse as oil & gas, banking & finance, and manufacturing.

This US$50 billion+ market also has a profound impact on sustainability beyond operational efficiency. In the realm of supply chain management, advanced technologies such as blockchain enable transparent and traceable sourcing, ensuring ethical practices and minimizing environmental impact. The integration of smart grids and renewable energy solutions empowers organizations to embrace cleaner, more sustainable energy sources. Additionally, data-driven insights derived from advanced analytics not only optimize resource allocation but also inform strategic decision-making for long-term sustainability. As businesses navigate a rapidly changing landscape, the fusion of digital innovation and sustainability becomes an integral strategy for fostering resilience and creating a paradigm where economic growth and environmental stewardship coalesce for a more sustainable future.

While optimization-driven engagements have continued to be the major theme, with almost one-third of the deals signed in 2023 (YTD), decarbonization and ESG data monitoring and reporting have also gained a lot of traction for the buyer side.

  1. Emerging technologies and climate action:

The intersection of emerging technologies and climate action is paramount. Insights emphasize the potential of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and other cutting-edge technologies in creating innovative solutions for climate change mitigation. These technologies facilitate real-time monitoring, enabling swift responses to environmental shifts. AI-driven predictive models enhance climate resilience, while blockchain ensures transparent carbon trading.

Generative AI has been the talk of the town lately, and providers have not shied away from experimenting with gen AI use cases in sustainability either. The most common use cases are around rapid design, prototyping, and automation and streamlining of manual processes. There is immense potential in these emerging use cases to transform the way we look at sustainability engagements.

  1. Resilient and sustainable business models:

Integrating sustainability into business models must be the way of the future. Our research emphasizes the need for resilient and sustainable business models that align with environmental objectives, paving the way for discussions on these models at COP28.

Sustainability-driven innovation in product development helps enterprises increase market responsiveness and differentiated brand value. Products marketed as sustainable now hold a 17.0% market share, with significant growth during the pandemic, as per the NYU Stern Sustainable Market Index.

  1. Collaboration and ecosystem partnerships:

Collaboration is fundamental in scaling up sustainable initiatives. We have seen the importance of ecosystem partnerships, bringing together governments, businesses, and technology service providers to drive collective action.

This is a theme prominent not just at an enterprise level, but also at an international level. For example, the EU pledged €12 million in grants to support Kenya’s green hydrogen industry.

  1. Regulatory framework convergence:

We anticipate significant implications for the evolving regulatory frameworks surrounding sustainability.

Standardizing environmental guidelines aids businesses in navigating complex landscapes and investors in making decisions based on transparent and comparable disclosures. Industry associations like the International Council on Mining and Metals, the World Gold Council, the Copper Mark, and the Mining Association of Canada are moving to develop a responsible mining code to define one minimum global standard for the industry’s environmental impact, human rights, and due diligence.

The discussions at COP28 are expected to influence how governments, industry consortia, and businesses approach environmental goals, potentially shaping more streamlined regulations and standards.

Everest Group is cautiously optimistic

The negotiations will likely provide a platform for technology service providers to contribute their expertise in navigating the complex interplay between sustainability and technology. As Everest Group’s areas of research align with the ongoing discussions, we anticipate a nuanced understanding of how regulatory changes may impact the adoption of digital solutions, emerging technologies, and sustainable business practices.

COP28 represents a crucial juncture in the global pursuit for sustainability, and Everest Group’s research positions technology service providers at the forefront of this transformative journey. As the negotiations unfold, the impact on regulatory frameworks and the collaborative efforts of governments, businesses, and technology providers will shape the trajectory towards achieving the goals set by the Paris Agreement. Everest Group remains committed to providing insights that navigate the evolving landscape of sustainability, guiding organizations toward a more resilient and environmentally conscious future. To discuss further reach out to Rita Soni, Principal Analyst, Sustainability Research and Impact Sourcing, [email protected], Arpita Dwivedi, Practice Director, Sustainability and Talent, [email protected], Ambika Kini, Senior Analyst, Sustainability Technology and Services, [email protected], or Meenakshi Narayanan, Senior Analyst, Sustainability Technology and Services, [email protected].

Don’t miss our LinkedIn Live session, Building a Sustainable Future: Reflections on COP28 and Insights for 2024.

Contracting for Value: Balancing Expectations and Reality in Outsourcing Engagements | Blog

Everest Group’s Strategic Engagement Reviews (SERs) reveal several key trends that hinder enterprises from realizing maximum value from business process services (BPS) contracts. As enterprises rethink their outsourcing strategies, reevaluate current contracts, and rebalance work, these findings are highly relevant. Read on for insights into the research.

Connect with us to discuss BPS contracting.

Recently, when reading the Aesop fable The Tortoise and the Hare to my toddler niece, I was struck by its resemblance to the current state of outsourcing engagements. During the pandemic, service providers were in emergency mode to ensure business continuity for their clients, which increased satisfaction scores in 2021. However, providers faltered in maintaining the same momentum going into 2022 during the period of the Great Resignation. Providers were not prepared for the sudden large-scale attrition in the services industry, resulting in inconsistent service delivery quality and, consequently, impacting client satisfaction.

Decreased buyer satisfaction from key issues study

Fast forward to today, we see the recent banking collapse already casting a haze over the business landscape. As the saying goes, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Enterprises are investing more cautiously, given the current cost pressures along with fears of an economic slowdown and uncertainty. With every dollar being scrutinized, enterprises are rethinking their outsourcing strategies and evaluating the value realized from their outsourcing engagements. Let’s explore this further.

Key observations from strategic engagement reviews (SERs)  

Over the past year, Everest Group has supported many leading enterprises in evaluating their outsourcing contracts across different functional areas and benchmarking them against industry standards by leveraging our proprietary Strategic Engagement Review (SER) framework. The framework enables 360-degree assessment of outsourcing engagements with analysis across various dimensions, including solutions, pricing, contract terms, provider delivery and performance, and transformation.

While most of these contracts remain operational with transactional/tactical processes, outsourcing complex and upstream work has increased. We also observed the scope is expanding into adjacent and/or non-traditional areas such as risk management and compliance and environmental, social, and governance (ESG). These advancements are the result of joint efforts by enterprises welcoming providers as strategic partners and providers building robust capabilities to support the judgment-intensive processes.

Strategic Engagement Reviews (SER) framework

While benchmarking commercials remains a high priority for enterprises, the focus is shifting to understanding how to enhance the value from outsourcing engagements (beyond cost) and transform operations through best practices and digital adoption.

Below are a few observations from these engagements:

  • Most of these contracts inaccurately reflect client satisfaction due to irrelevant tracking metrics and unclear communication between parties regarding outcomes
  • Most of the contracts lack innovative commercial constructs that often impede full value realization out of the engagement
  • Both enterprises and providers need to fulfill certain existing gaps to embrace and implement more mature transformation models
  • This can be achieved by considering dedicated change management practices as the heart of any outsourcing engagement

Are performance dashboards merely a facade?

Indeed, performance dashboards tracking Service Level Agreements (SLAs) look as green as the proverbial “grass on the other side,” but the reality is not as rosy for a myriad of reasons. This phenomenon is often called the “watermelon effect.” Much like a watermelon that is smooth and green on the outside, hiding a red core, service metrics can be on target on the surface, but underneath, they may indicate poor service delivery and enterprise dissatisfaction.

Unclear communication regarding outcomes that lead to contract value leakage is the primary reason for this occurring. With the focus on client-centricity and winning deals, providers often commit to almost all client demands without properly clarifying how the “value gains” will be achieved. This leads to incongruity between the implementation and the client’s vision. For instance, productivity gains can be achieved either through digital resources or full-time equivalents (FTEs). Failing to mention these intricacies often results in difficulty in agreeing on the realized value after the implementation.

Aligning on well-defined outcomes won’t necessarily lead to maximum value realization without identifying and tracking the right metrics to govern the service delivery quality. We often find contractual SLAs that measure activity and workflow steps without aligning with the strategic business outcomes. Measuring irrelevant metrics may dilute the service level credit mechanism, which determines the provider’s fees tied to SLAs.

The holy grail for measuring outcomes and avoiding excess provider payouts is tracking relevant metrics that truly represent the end business goal. For example, if the goal is process standardization, then operational metrics such as payment processing accuracy might be relevant. For more mature organizations looking for large-scale transformation for topline improvement, outcome-oriented metrics, such as Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) could be better.

Sharing is indeed caring – the need for gain-sharing commercials

Enterprises often are dissatisfied with providers’ lack of proactiveness in bringing in innovation for transformation. This stems from the prevalence of the typical time-and-value commercial construct, which doesn’t incentivize the provider to exceed contractual commitments.

By embracing a gain-sharing pricing model that incentivizes providers to bring in more value-adds, enterprises can ensure providers have skin in the game. This approach not only fosters collaboration between the provider and enterprise but also builds an alliance as both parties work hand-in-hand towards a common goal. Moreover, this strategy further establishes the pathway for improved trust within the relationship, which is essential for the provider to act as a strategic partner.

It takes two to tango! Two to transform!

To draw a parallel about these engagements, a contract is like two rowers wading a boat through a turbulent river – it takes joint efforts to row through the perilous journey to reach the shore safely! Likewise, the onus of creating a sustaining long-term outsourcing relationship with maximum value realization lies with both the provider and the enterprise.

While the lift-shift-fix transformation model appears to be the most prevalent, there are profound reasons more mature transformation models are not being implemented. Although enterprises want providers to proactively pitch their technology solutions, the reality is that the willingness to embrace these contributions is limited! The reason enterprises are reluctant to adopt provider technology beyond point solutions is simply because this typically entails heavy provider ownership of the technology infrastructure. Consequently, enterprises want to avoid operational dependency that might increase future switching or termination costs.

On the other side, we also see providers being a bit risk-averse about challenging the in-house enterprise technology landscape to maintain good relationships with their clients by avoiding ruffling the features of the enterprise infrastructure!

While this type of arrangement minimizes provider intervention and operational dependency, it also limits cost efficiencies and business value that comes from leveraging provider technology. True value realization from outsourcing engagements will be achieved when enterprises provide more ownership of processes, visibility into organizational data, and greater flexibility to operationalize providers’ transformation initiatives. Concurrently, providers need to outline a clear transformation roadmap for enterprises, enabling them to visualize their journey ahead.

It’s high time that we see the “C” in change management as an underrated pivot to outsourcing

The change management aspect of resources is often underestimated in outsourcing relationships. Enterprises report that poor change management initiatives from providers can lead to disgruntled employees, resulting in employee attrition that indirectly affects the outsourcing project quality. Therefore, it is important to take a more proactive and structured approach to increase employee engagement and productivity in the outsourced service function, rather than approaching change management reactively and on an ad hoc basis.

What is the best way forward?

As enterprises plan for renewed growth, it will be intriguing to see how the outsourcing landscape evolves amidst the anticipated geopolitical unrest and recessionary environment. Some questions we’ll be following are: Will organizations need to rebalance work? Will increased provider rates challenge the cost advantages of outsourcing? Will large-scale transformation initiatives take a back seat to increased demand for short-time-to-value products in the near term?

To benchmark your current outsourcing contract, contact Everest Group. For more information, reach out to Prateek Singh, Practice Director, BPS, and Asmita Das, Senior Analyst, BPS.

Join our webinar, Key Issues 2024: Creating Accelerated Value in a Dynamic World, to discover insights into the current perspectives of IT-BP industry leaders and the major concerns, expectations, and trends for 2024.

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