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MSPs and Sustainable IT Services: Ensono, Wheelhouse IT, WWT Embrace Carbon Reduction

April 26, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

A small but growing number of MSPs (managed IT service providers) in the United States are developing sustainable IT services while also developing net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions strategies for their own businesses.

The latest examples involve Ensono of Chicago, Wheelhouse IT of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Worldwide Technology (WWT) of Maryland Heights, Missouri. The anecdotal evidence:

  • Ensono has vowed to reduce its carbon emissions by 60% by 2030. The journey involves partnering with NZero, which develops a data and decarbonization software platform.
  • WWT also is partnering with NZero on its data center decarbonization efforts.
  • Meanwhile, Wheelhouse IT has vowed to integrate green practices into its IT consulting services.

MSP Carbon Monitoring: Ensono Sustainability Initiatives

Ensono, backed by private equity firm KKR, is based in Chicago, Illinois. The MSP, which has roughly 3,400 employees, specializes in such services as consulting, mainframe and application modernization, public cloud migration, and cloud-native development across Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

Jim Kozlowski, VP of data center facilities and capacity management, Ensono

Despite continued business growth, Ensono cut its electric consumption by 13% and total carbon emission output by 17% from 2022 to 2023.

That carbon reduction effort involves NZero, a real-time data and decarbonization platform that allows customers to "measure, analyze, report and act on sustainability initiatives across all three scopes." Moreover, NZero’s data helps clients understand data changes hour-by-hour, the company says.

In a prepared statement about the sustainability effort and NZero partnership, Jim Kozlowski, VP of data center facilities and capacity management at Ensono, said: “As we advance towards our sustainability goals, precise tracking and management of our energy consumption and emissions are critical. NZero’s platform enables us to gain detailed insights into our operations, guiding our efforts in data center consolidation and efficiency improvements. This partnership is not only about transparency of our environmental impact but also about being responsible stewards of the environment while maintaining our commitment to client service excellence.”

Valérie Mitan, executive VP & head of sustainability, NZero

Added Valérie Mitan, executive VP and head of sustainability at NZero: “Our collaboration with Ensono is a testament to their leadership in adopting sustainable practices within the IT industry. By providing them with accurate, detailed, and automated carbon management data, we’re empowering Ensono to make informed decisions that align with their ambitious net-zero goals and contribute to a more sustainable future.”

Nzero Engages MSPs: This is NZero's second MSP engagement announced in recent weeks. The other involves World Wide Technology (WWT) -- a $20 billion technology solutions provider. WWT leverages Nzero to help customers achieve data center sustainability goals. The NZero-WWT relationship surfaced in February 2024.

Wheelhouse IT Sustainability Initiatives

Meanwhile, Wheelhouse IT also plugging sustainability into its MSP business.

The company, founded in 2002, is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Wheelhouse IT had 42 employees listed on LinkedIn as of April 2024, and overall headcount of more than 60 employees, according to its LinkedIn description. The MSP in 2017 surfaced on the Inc. 5000 list -- which honors America's fastest-growing privately held businesses.

On the sustainability front, Wheelhouse IT's strategy involves promoting energy-efficient data centers, recycling electronic waste, and advising clients on sustainable IT practices.

2-gani-zebersky.png-1 copy
Gani Zebersky, CEO, Wheelhouse IT

In a prepared statement, Wheelhouse IT CEO Gani Zebersky said: "Our commitment to sustainability is not just about reducing our carbon footprint. It's about leading by example and helping our clients implement IT solutions that are efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly."

We're checking to see if Wheelhouse IT is monitoring its own carbon footprint, and/or setting a net-zero GHG goal for the business.

MSPs and Sustainability in the United States: Early Movers

The Ensono and Wheelhouse IT sustainability efforts surfaced the same week that Ricoh USA launched a Sustainability Services Dashboard for customers. That dashboard leverages carbon reporting software from Watershed.

Meanwhile, some IT service providers and consulting firms appear to be ahead of the curve -- or at least setting a rapid pace -- with their sustainability services rollouts.

Examples include MSP industry veterans at 1EESG GlobalEvercycleKyndrylLogicalis USPC PowersaveScalePad and TD Synnex.

Also of note: Global IT consulting firms that have MSP arms continue to expand their sustainability and ESG practices -- despite some ESG pushback from some conservative circles in the United States. Examples in the market include Accenture, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, NTT, PwC and Capgemini.

Still, most MSPs in the United States have yet to tackle sustainability within their own businesses, nor do they offer sustainable IT consulting services to their end customers.

Also, most MSP software companies are late to the sustainability game. Indeed, most MSP software providers in the PSA (professional services automation) and RMM (remote monitoring and management) sectors have yet to introduce carbon reporting and energy management capabilities for the SMB sector.

MSPs and Sustainability Trends in the United States: 4 Undeniable Market Drivers

Still, at least four market trends will likely push more and more MSPs and their software providers to embrace sustainability. The trends include:

1. AI, Energy Consumption and Energy Costs: Data center energy consumption will expand at a 26.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2023 to 2027, according to IDC. Generative AI (artificial intelligence) application workloads will trigger much of that energy consumption growth, IDC predicted. In response, MSPs may need to offer energy monitoring and cloud cost management services to keep AI application expenses under control.

Sam Altman
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman invested in data center power startup Exowatt

Multiple venture capital firms and startups are striving to solve the data center energy challenge. Examples include:

2. Business Demands from CEOs, CIOs and End-Customers: By 2025, 50% of CIOs will have specific performance metrics tied to energy consumption, according to Gartner. Moreover, environmental sustainability is now a Top 10 business priority for CEOs, Gartner says. As a result, 75% of organizations by 2026 will increase their business engagement with IT vendors that have clear sustainability goals, the research firm said. As a result, customer CEOs and CIOs may increasingly engage MSPs that offer sustainability-type capabilities in their managed services contracts.

3. Financial Accountants Become Carbon Accountants: Companies such as AWS and Sage are betting that small business financial accountants will become carbon accountants. The reason: Small businesses will need to embrace carbon reporting in order to access various financial services and supply chains, while also navigating various regulations, AWS and Sage predicted during the Sage Transform conference in March 2024. Take a closer look, and it's a bet that some of those SMB accounting firms also have IT consulting and MSP practices.

4. International Compliance Standards: Multiple sustainability-related regulations are emerging worldwide. Examples include:

  • Europe: The European Union's Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD).
  • Australia: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is telling local companies to prepare now for mandatory climate disclosure regulations.
  • United States: Admittedly, the SEC's climate disclosure rule remains tied up in legal disputes (as of April 2024). Similarly, California's carbon emissions law faces various legal debates. But anecdotal evidence suggests certain US-based regulations will move forward. One example involves Building Performance Standards -- which will require thousands of residential and commercial business owners to manage, monitor and reduce their carbon footprints. California, Colorado and New Jersey already have BPS regulations in place. Maryland, Minnesota and Washington are scheduled to do the same over the next three years, CBRE reported.

Global Regulations Will Gradually Impact U.S. Channel Partners

Keep in mind: The European and Australian regulations will likely extend to impact U.S.-based companies. The reason? Thousands of U.S.-based businesses -- of all sizes -- integrate with corporate supply chains in Europe and Australia. As a result, those U.S.-based businesses will increasingly need to report their carbon emissions as part of Scope 3-related supply chain disclosure requirements.

Amid those market trends, channel partners are addressing sustainability at differing rates across Europe, North America and other regions, according to a Canalys research report from mid-2023.

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