C3: The Boom in Energy Resource Management Software


The term “CRM” has become part of the lingo for almost any corporation or non-profit organization.  Even if you don’t know what CRM stands for (Customer Relationship Management), you have probably seen it around.  It’s just a high tech way to manage and keep track your interactions with your customers.

With more and more companies moving towards sustainability, managing energy resources is becoming important.  Could ERM (Energy Resource Management) do for energy and carbon management, what CRM has done for customer relationships?  Is there a market for ERM software solutions?  Will ERM become as common place as CRM?

During the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2011 conference, Thomas Siebel, CEO of C3 gave his thoughts in the market potential for energy management software.  Siebel was founder for Siebel CRM Systems.  Siebel Systems was eventually bought out by Oracle for $5.8 billion.  Siebel further suggested that Siebel Systems had been the fastest growing software company in history, and that C3 is on pace to grow even faster.

C3 already has a handful of big customers, Dow Chemical, PG&E, and Constellation Energy.  With Dow in particular, C3 is helping Dow run 3,500 mitigation projects to cut its footprint by $1 billion per year by 2015.  (As a side note, I wonder if he is using Siebel Systems CRM software to manage his ERM customers.)

If you take a look at the C3 logo, the C and 3 somewhat resemble a cloud.  This hints at the cloud-based SAAS (Software as a Service) model that C3 is creating their ERM platform.   The image between the C and the 3 resembles a carbon dioxide molecule.  But what does C3 stand for, and what exactly does the company do with its SAAS?

The 3 in C3 stands for measure, mitigate, and monetize.  That would be 3 M’s, but as the moderator of the conversation joked, that is already taken.  C, obviously stands for carbon.  Perhaps the C3 mission speaks to what the company seeks to provide: “C3 enables organizations to maximize profitability and cash flow by optimizing their enterprise energy strategy and carbon footprint.”

C3 is not alone in this marketplace, and has some worthy competitors, SAP and Hara.  It’s interesting to note the C3 is somewhat a fusion of the SAP and Hara attempt in this space.

SAP has decades of experience in the CRM and (ERM) Enterprise Resource Management spaces.  Hara is the newbie, a startup dedicated solely  on environmental and energy resource management solutions.  With Siebel at the helm, C3 may enjoy the benefit of experience with CRM yet the nimbleness of a brand new start up.

So, how will C3 remain competitive in this space?  Siebel stated that their would be a value based pricing model, but was a bit allusive stating that it “costs more than a spread and less then a nuclear reactor.”

All in all, we are all winners here.  Energy and environment resource management solutions look to be an positive force, that will not only help companies save money, but help companies lower their impact on the planet.

Jonathan Mariano is an MBA candidate with the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. His interests include the convergence between lean & green and pursuing free-market based sustainable solutions.

4 responses

  1. Tom Siebel has amassed an impressive array of financial and human capital resources at C3, and their product launch clearly reflects it. It’s apparent that C3 offers the leading comprehensive suite that incorporates all phases of EECM delivered as a configurable SaaS offering.

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