Over on the SaaSu blog they’ve got this post detailing how SaaS can increase sustainability for its customers and the world at large. While Diversity blogs are proponents of SaaS in all its shapes and forms, the SaaSu post might just be a little bit evangelical for our tastes.

Don’t you think?

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

17 Comments
  • i’m working at home today, spent some time with the kids and my wife. yep i’m an evangelist for a better family life and business life. most importantly there may be a planet for my kids to inherit if we can employ as many tools and ways as possible to transform the way we work. saas is just one enabler, its part of the reason i got into this business. time is against our earth. you either buy into the arguement or your against it? i’d love it if diversity joined us on the crusade?

  • Marc – I’m 100% with you – my post was a tongue in cheek reflection on your “SaaS as a saviour” post. But my commitment to creating a better world for my kids children is unwavering (comment written from home after a home cooked dinner (by me no less) of stir fried vegetables. After a day spent hanging out with them at school and in the ocean swimming – so yeah I’m all for balance too)

  • Marc,

    I find your post, way off the mark. It is a vain one. Sustainability has got nothing to do with SaaS. Whether there is SaaS or no SaaS, this has no relevancy at all regarding the environment & sustainability.

  • @Falafulu. Sustainability is about consumption. Less SMB servers, less disks, less help manuals, less travel, less labour, less paper. Getting personal and offering no explanation certainly isn’t helping me understand your view.

  • @Ben. Thanks, I know your heads in the right spot, that’s why a read your blog 🙂

    The only saviour would be to create a global cultural change that was anti-consumption. Thats way beyond SaaS obviously. Lots of small cuts can kill a monster though.

  • Marc said…
    Getting personal and offering no explanation certainly isn’t helping me understand your view.

    Marc, the reason I thought your post on SaaS and sustainability was irrelevant is because :

    – First, anyone can claim that anything & everything is related to sustainability. I could say that fasting is relevant to sustainability, and it is something got to do with buying less from the supermarket (ie, do grocery shopping once every month, thus to avoid driving to the supermarket, which save the environment from pollution, also the producers who made their products available in the supermarket will produce less, as less people buying their products since they only do it once a month, etc,…). You know that my example here is irrelevant to linking SaaS & sustainabiligy, which is similar to your example. There are many examples, that I could come up with (all irrelevant to sustainability), but the point I am trying to make here, is that there are lots of greenies (I am not saying that you’re one) out there, who link everything we do daily to sustainability which are of course irrelevant.

    – Second, there is no scientific studies which established your assertion about any causal link between SaaS & sustainability. If you have seen such studies somewhere, I would certainly be interested to be pointed out to that, please.

  • @Falafulu. We are living the experience in our business and seeing our customers live it. I’m extremely confident in the outcome of any study favouring SaaS over Software in a context of SEE impact (social, environmental and economic) should it eventuate. Rather than wait for someone to tell me I should do the anecdotally obvious, I’ll tend to just do it. Bit like holding my kids hands crossing the road. I know roads are dangerous, I’ve seen 3 people hit by cars in my life already. I’m not waiting to read a study before I do something about their safety. Thanks for explaining your view by the way and I totally agree that there is a lot going on in the supposed green space that is actually has a negative impact on the environment.

  • Marc said…
    The only saviour would be to create a global cultural change that was anti-consumption.

    Marc, this comment makes you as a hypocrite. Let me ask you, do you own a computer? Obviously you do, since you’re making post here. Do you own a cell-phone? Do you own a vehicle? If you want to be anti-consumption, how about you start getting rid of those things first, before you start to preach to others how bad consumerism is.

    The sort of mentality you’re advocating is exactly, what this theme from the following link is talking about.

    Exploit the Earth or Die

  • The Australian Government changed take rates last year. Our major competitor has 500,000 customers. They mainly update their customers non-SaaS accounting software via mail with CDs.

    That stack would be taller than our city central high rise building.

    To top it off they were sent weeks/months after the Goverment announcement and arrived merely days before it was absolutely critical to have them and in many cases late. We believe many people doubled up by upgrading via the shops before the CDs arrived.

    Saasu.com had the updates in place for all our users (merely thousands) within days of the original announcement without one letter being printed or CD being shipped.

    Now tell me who is making a positive difference? Happy Valentine’s Day all.

    Cheers, Peter.

  • Great discussion guys and Peter it’s hard to fault your example as a real world environmental positive. It’ll be interesting to see FF’s response….

  • @Falafulu. Consumption isn’t about the things people have, it’s about the production to distribution to use to waste cycle they reside in. Reducing consumption doesn’t mean not owning things it means not consuming things as best as possible. If I buy an apple and discard the core. I’ve consumed. If I put that core in the compost, I’ve consumed less. If I grow the apple and compost the core, I’m neutral consumption.

    This is all about the human race finding ways to head back toward neutral consumption.

  • Peter said…
    Now tell me who is making a positive difference.

    Peter, actually NO. There is no difference at all in having 500,000 CDs floating around the planet, than the 100 millions old computers that are being retired & discarded everyday all year. I suspect that the argument linking SaaS to sustainability, is nothing more than a marketing hype. I like SaaS, because the online app I am developing is SaaS-based, Java applets financial market web-based analytics tool. I am going to market my app as its capability of cutting-edge algorithms compared to any competitor’s (emerging or existing ones) out there, rather than marketing it as a tool that help save the world from Global warming.

    You know, there are lots of greenies out there who would jump to buy SaaS licenses based on the perception that it helps sustainability, but in actual reality, it has zero effect at all on sustainability. I can smell a rat here, it is about marketing hype for SaaS, because there are lots of suckers & naive people people out there who love anything that is labeled, clean environment, sustainability, man-made global warming, blah, blah, blah,… These people, would buy these products not because of what it can offered but because they think that they’re helping the planet.

  • We blog about sustainability because we care about it. Deeply. It is not a primary marketing message we lead with (or even use much in the main site) because we think the pure business benefits sell the product.

    Just to challenge your thinking a little – 100 million PCs that have a longer life (because they are using SaaS and just need to be able to browse) IS better than 200m PCs of which 100m are in landfill.

    No CDs IS better than 10m (assuming from a 10-20 year period of persisting with non-SaaS tax table updates).

    Green washing does happen, I agree and it is bad, I agree. But how to stop it? We started the saasecosystem.com code of conduct discussions for reasons just like that amongst others.

    We live the dream though. Did I mention we relocated the office just so that 100% of staff could use public transport? Or that we are very nearly paperless in the office? Or that we chose established buildings and data centre over shiny new ones deliberately?

    We know they are merely small steps in the right direction, but if everyone did it… you know the rest.

    One last thing, just Google ‘Commuting Hell’ and see just how material the human and environment benefits are for SaaS globally.

    Sometimes the lucky people living in lower density environments need a reminder of that.

  • I’m with Marc and Peter on this one.

    There is tremendous potential for the ICT, particularly Saas to minimize the impact that we have on the environment. And there is research to back that up, which I cover in the story of stuff blog post awhile ago.
    http://www.aci-citizenresearch.org/Final%20Green%20Benefits.pdf
    http://diversity.net.nz/the-story-of-stuff/2008/01/27/

    Why waste resources when its either a) unnecessary or b) damaging to the environment or often both? Especially as we become more efficient with resources and energy, we could reduce the cost of commodities and thus making it affordable for those who must now do without, or at the very least prevent the astronomical price rises we have witnessed over the last few years.

  • Jamesey, that story-of-stuff is a quality find. It’s spot on, she’s nailed it. Great post thanks.

  • Marc said…
    It’s spot on, she’s nailed it.

    Peter & Mark,

    Here is a good post on Sustainability by my friends from the Libertarianz and I urge you to read their posts, and try to digest them, regarding the depth of reasons & logics the authors had putting forward.

    The buzzword for this morning is ‘sustainability’

    Feel-Good Environmentalism

    Now, if you both want to debate the issue of sustainability, then I encourage you both to head over to the following blog post (today – 18/02/2008) and make comments.

    “Sustainability.” Not just a meaningless buzzword

  • I am a big fan of people that devote time and effort to distinctive ideas that can change the world. However out-there they may seem in some cases.

    I looked at the sites you mentioned FF and suspect my personal preferences tend more towards those that are practical and deliverable and with less abstract logics (sic) and spelling 🙂 .

    I’ll always tend towards real and large improvements (albeit relatively incremental) as per the examples in my posts above and the fairly solid rewards shown in that gem of a link by Jamesy. Thanks…

    Maybe Marc nailed it with his much earlier thoughts on Improving the worst part or maybe it just needs one small refinement – improve the worst part (that you are capable of improving).

    I’m signing off from this stream since it seems to have strayed materially. We have some real SaaS sustainability step jump improvements to finish off on the next release of saasu so I’m going to get back to that. Thanks for the chat. P.

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