Expert Hubs: EnergyCanalys ran a series of ‘Expert Hubs’ at its latest Channels Forums. We gathered experts within the channel partner community to discuss subjects pertaining to one of the key event themes: ESG, strategy, cybersecurity, managed services and digital workplace. The sessions contained a mixture of partners, vendors and in some cases, third-party experts. Event participants were invited to watch the live discussion online. In this series of reports, we summarize the key learnings that came from those sessions.
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Posted on 22/10/2021
Partner participants: Atea, Axiz, Bechtle, Introstat, Jigsaw24, Rejoose, SEC Datacom, Softcat
Vendor participants: AMD, Schneider Electric, Vertiv
Sustainability was a key theme of the Canalys Channels Forum EMEA in October 2021. Topics covered included: Circular Economy, Diversity and Inclusion, and Environmental KPIs and Energy.
Energy rises up the agenda
The energy topic is particularly timely. Wholesale prices around the world have rocketed due to increased demand for energy. Participants commented that, in Africa for example, in a bid to stave off rising prices and to secure energy supplies, many have turned to cheaper coal or are looking to green energy (as a way of guaranteeing supply rather than for environmental reasons).
The technology industry has a critical role to play in both usage and optimization of energy supply. As an industry it consumes vast quantities on a daily basis to run data centers, servers and devices, but also has the ability to help partners and customers use energy more efficiently.
Canalys research highlights that just 23% of EMEA based partners offer solutions to help customers become more energy efficient. It represents a significant opportunity for partners, but also highlights the huge challenge the industry faces.
Further to this, in certain geographies, environmental sustainability is simply not a priority for many customers and partners, in the face of huge economic challenges and high unemployment.
Some partners in the Nordics and UK are already running their entire organizations from renewable energy sources and as laudable as that achievement is, there is still a huge amount to do in the broader supply chain.
Partners participating in the expert hub noted the start of a shift away from looking at the energy efficiency of a particular product. Instead customers (especially larger organizations and those in public sector) are looking at this aspect from a broader perspective: what is the customer’s overall sustainability strategy and how does the technology solution fit within that? Customers are starting to request an analysis of their energy footprint and how they can become carbon neutral.
Education and training become vital
During the session, partners were unanimous in recognizing that many partners (and indeed departments within their own organizations) need support to train and educate customers in how to become more energy efficient and reduce their carbon footprint. Partners stated that customers don’t even know where to start or what questions to ask, let alone what that then means for their organization.
A recent emerging trait is MSPs being asked to share (to their customers) what individual customer’s energy use and carbon footprint is. This request and desire for customers to quantify energy costs, understand energy efficiency and the proportion of their energy coming from renewables will only grow. Partners participating in the discussion were either already involved in providing such assessments and advice to their customers or actively considering how they will build this into their customer engagements. This is seen as a big opportunity for partners in providing the data and analysis on customers sustainability status, and helping them manage it.
The EU Directive coming into force in January 2022 (initially voluntary) will mean organizations of more than 250 employees are expected to have an audit of their energy consumption conducted. This will become mandatory in a couple of years and will cascade to smaller companies over time as well. The use of regulations (both inside and outside the EU), coupled with heightened personal (and corporate) awareness and responsibility will go some way to improving the technology industry’s impact on the energy crisis. Vendors need to look at how they support partners by sharing best practice examples, highlighting customer case studies and continuing to provide their own energy and carbon usage reports. Participants further highlighted this needs deep collaboration and co-operation across the vendor, partner and customer communities to help drive awareness and action.