SAAS Startup Tunes Enterprises into Social Responsibility - Page 3

CSRware's software includes three modules: the Corporate Sustainability Module that covers eco-efficient IT and greenhouse gas reporting; an Enterprise Sustainability Platform used to benchmark, quantify and monitor initiatives; and the Corporate Sustainability Analytics used to plan and model data.

The software can take data from most electronic sources including Excel, which is the most widely used application companies use to track resource use and CO2 emissions.

The difference between what CSRware provides, compared to more established companies like IBM and Lawson, is a more holistic approach to sustainability, according to Alonardo. "Their focus is specifically on energy efficiency in the data center. We incorporate the data center aspects-including the overall footprint of an organization-with areas like the real estate group and suppliers," she said. "It's like eco-analytics with a very strategic perspective."

But CSRware, like many of its would-be competitors, still in the early stages of market development. And that market is clearly fragmented. Alonardo likened CSRware's software to PeopleSoft in its early days; PeopleSoft was the first software company to automated Human Resource processes.

"There are still a lot of people grappling with spreadsheets," she said. CSRware, in pilot phase now, is seeking additional funding to build out the infrastructure necessary for the summer launch.

The million dollar question for CSR vendors is who to approach in the enterprise: the sustainability group-if it exists-or IT? Alonardo said that if a sustainability group is indeed in place that typically will be her company's first target. Absent that, the company will target the IT group, which often has the budget to acquire new software, and the ability to manage the data center.

CSRware is currently piloting projects with three major companies targeting specific vertical segments: high tech, retail and the data center.

"There is clearly a big opportunity for more specialist software," writes Lawrence. "Businesses must address increasing corporate responsibility pressure, and regulations, relating to their use of natural resources. At the bottom of the all the world's carbon mitigation schemes-whether voluntary or mandatory, cap and trade or taxation, offset or sequestration-somebody will have to be collecting and reporting on the raw data."