Reading Jason’s post on accounting in real time and Phil’s ( BTW, thanks for mentioning us ) post on SaaS and some CIOs comments, it struck (!) me, that nobody is talking about the environmental impact of SaaS.
Here is how I see it:
NO PACKAGING. This is the obvious one. We do not need to send CD’s, boxes and wrappings to supply our product. Remember you also save all the packaging, fuel and pollution associated with the supply chain.
LESS TRAVEL. The SaaS technology allows users to be based anywhere. They do not need to travel to work and can save on all kinds of other travel, by using SaaS technology to meet online. Not only the environmental impact is considerable, but also the time and cost saving for the user.
LESS PAPER & PRINTING. Using email, e-Quote and e-Invoice, web-site and online shop, you save an enormous amount of paper and printing, considering again the delivery process of catalogues, brochures, letters, invoices and quotations the environmental benefits are enormous. Again the user benefits from time and cost savings at the same time.
HOMESOURCING. Using our SaaS and Live! products you can out-source or home-source additional work, using an largely untapped labour market of skilled virtual assistance, who do not need an office, desk, computer, software, heating, air-conditioning, etc. again saving time, money and benefitting the environment.
SUPPORT ONLINE. Much the same as above. Our support is done online, knowledge-base replaces manuals. Effect is obvious. But even the business support, i.e. talking to your accountant can be done online, no travel, less time for the accountant or client wasted, less cost.
LESS COMPUTER WASTE. Since none of the processing is done on the clients PC there is less need to upgrade the computer hardware, it certainly gives computers a longer service life.
Some of these benefits may also be available by using the old software model and desk-top applications, but in comparison they are very limited. If we want to get serious about our environment, we need to change the way we work.
Here is the thing that gets me going, do we really need to be on the motor-way, in trains, buses, taxis, etc. for hours each day? Do we really need to heat and/or cool our house and our office space all day?
I know that “human” value is gained through the social interaction between people in the office environment, but could we use social networking to do the same? Surely daily travel adds to our stress levels, that impacts our work performance and our health.
I believe once we question these daily realities we will not only help the environment, but also have a direct personal, financial and health gain from the changes we could make.
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