An increasing number of organisations are aligning their IT investments with their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies, with sustainability being baked into business strategies to not only meet societal demand but also a business imperative.
According to IDC’s top global predictions for sustainability and ESG, by 2026, ESG performance will be viewed as a top three decision factor for IT equipment purchases, while over 50 per cent of request for proposals (RFPs) will include metrics regarding carbon emissions, material use, and labour conditions.
On the ground, Paul Calabro – speaking to ARN as CEO of Queensland-based Madison Technologies – observed that conversations with companies lean in the direction of seeking green opportunities in digital transformation across operating environments.
“Our customers are navigating the topic of sustainability differently, and pain points extend to primarily the topics of carbon emissions, ethical sourcing and efficiencies gained through reduced waste,” he outlined.
Calabro found that businesses are looking to leverage sustainability to reduce costs and increase efficiency by reducing waste and pointing resources into the right areas, which drives up competitiveness and profits within critical infrastructure environments.
“It can also help businesses build their brand and reputation. Expectations upon organisations to present social and environmental initiatives are more likely to support businesses committed to sustainability,” he added.
Seeing as there is a mutual benefit to being in the business of sustainability, Madison Technologies revealed setting up sustainable practices and solutions is part of its go-to-market strategy to reap the rewards of attracting and retaining customers, building brand loyalty and enhancing the “shared value” from partnerships.
“While our customers face many additional challenges, our team at Madison Technologies continues to work closely with our customers in developing relevant and resilient operational technology solutions,” he ensured.
An economic necessity
It is not just about offering green solutions for Madison Technologies. The industrial operational technology (OT) provider examined that understanding the issue of sustainability helped in navigating business risks with its customers while tapping on the supply partnerships it has established.
Calabro identified that these business risks from a sustainability lens include environmental and social risks, such as resource scarcity, which can significantly impact a business’s operations and bottom line.
“By integrating sustainability into the business strategy, our customers can better manage these risks and ensure long-term success,” he explained.
Furthermore, Madison Technologies realised embedding sustainability has become a regulatory requirement in many of the industries that it provides solutions to.
“Governments and regulatory bodies are increasingly imposing regulations and standards related to environmental issues. By embracing sustainability, Madison Technologies can collaborate with our customers to comply with these regulations,” Calabro added.
However, the business of delivering such solutions does come with its unique set of challenges, and Calabro qualified that it depends on the market sector as well.
One challenge is the cost of implementing sustainable practices. Typically, a significant investment is required upfront and the outcomes indirectly relate to environmental or social gain, outside of financial results.
In addition, Madison Technologies has also had to deal with complexity in supply chains that may involve local, national, and global suppliers.
“Attempting to ensure that sustainability exists throughout the supply chain can be challenging, as businesses may not have direct control over the practices of their suppliers,” Calabro elaborated.
Meanwhile, regulatory compliance within environmental and social regulations can also prove to be complex and time-consuming, especially across heavily regulated industries.
Despite the hurdles, with market opportunities abound, Madison Technologies aims to adapt to and capitalise on them.
As Calabro alluded to, businesses that incorporate sustainability can expect to grow their brand reputation and attain a competitive advantage in the market.
From a revenue standpoint, the cost savings of green initiatives is also a significant push factor for businesses.
He disclosed that the OT provider has been “extensively involved” in developing curated offerings that result in sustainable business practices such as waste reduction, using resources more effectively and increasing efficiency.
With more industries redefining their operations towards sustainability, it has also opened pathways for Madison Technologies to access new market sectors.
“Our traditional market sectors have always had substantial levels of compliance across critical infrastructure environments. However, as policies develop and regulations are implemented, new markets emerge, including energy renewables as an example that prioritise sustainability and gain a competitive advantage,” said Calabro.
“Madison Technologies has remained strategically agile in building technology solutions in these emerging market sectors to ensure value remains relevant.”
Value in Cisco collaboration
The journey Madison Technologies is undertaking has been supported by strong technology partners – one of which is Cisco.
After becoming a Cisco Operational Technology business partner in September 2021, Madison Technologies was introduced to Cisco’s inaugural Global Digital Sustainability Challenge in early 2022.
The competition tasked Cisco partners across the globe to submit their most innovative ideas focused on helping customers tackle climate concerns and achieve sustainability goals.
Entering as one of the Asia Pacific, Japan, and China (APJC) participants, Madison Technologies created a flood warning solution – dubbed Flood Node – which sought to create a safer environment for road users.
Within the context of the current erratic climate, the team was inspired by their personal experiences and drew on local weather events, such as the flash floods in Brisbane, to design a solution that supports resilient communications capabilities with predictive alerts of potential flood zones in high-traffic locations.
Madison Technologies took home the top honour for the APJC category with its Flood Node idea and has since looked further into developing the product concept and beginning a prototyping stage.
“It is fantastic to see Australian innovation recognised with Madison Technologies taking out first place in APJC, in Cisco’s inaugural Global Digital Sustainability Challenge,” said Ben Dawson, vice president of Australia & New Zealand at Cisco.
“This is an excellent application of Cisco technology and demonstrates the ability of our partners to innovate, directly tackling the impact of climate change.”
Calabro pointed out that the collaboration between Madison Technologies and Cisco has been important, highlighting the fact that the hardware vendor has shown its commitment to sustainability and made “significant progress” when it comes to reducing environmental impacts.
With the Cisco partnership, Madison Technologies has been able to leverage the expertise and technology of both companies to offer services across multiple targeted areas.
According to the OT provider, in helping organisations digitally transform, it has assisted with implementing sustainable solutions that increase efficiency, improve operations, and protect people, assets, and the environment.
At the same time, energy efficiency initiatives offered by Cisco and Madison Technologies have enabled customers to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions across critical infrastructure environments.
Both parties have also endeavoured to develop safer technology solutions that improve the speed and efficiency of industrial market sectors.
“Our partnership with Cisco on sustainable solutions can help our customers reduce their environmental impact, optimise costs, and improve brand reputation,” added Calabro.
“Our commitment through the partnership to sustainability and expertise in technology is assisting our customers in identifying and implementing sustainable solutions that fit their unique needs and objectives.”