Corporate social responsibility - ya gotta love it
Papering over the governance cracks
Three papers plucked from the Reg White Paper Library this week - all about aspects of governance, regulation and all round squeaky cleanness.
This paper from Epicor lays out the conceptual ground rules that underpin corporate social responsibility (CSR). The idea is businesses should take responsibility for the impact of their activities on all parties that they would affect—customers, shareholders, surrounding communities, and the environment—in all aspects of their operations.
You won't find a dissection of healthcare issues, say, or company-inspired coups, here. For Epicor, an ERP software company, the CSR slant is to reduce long and complex supply chains, to help companies obey regulation, improve profitability and and "be" green. Incorporation of carbon emission measurement as part of a supply chain network design is turning into an industry norm. And building a sustainable supply chain is of paramount importance for many CEOs, according to Epicor, which cites a PricewaterhouseCoopers poll that found 70 per cent of CEOs believe that CSR is vital to their firm’s profitability.
This paper is limited in scope, but effective at teasing out the CSR implications in creating a sustainable supply chain.
This Double-Take paper lists the major pieces of UK legislation that require a disaster recovery plan for some kind of data. It also maps out US laws with the same requirements that companies also operating overseas must follow. Losing data, or inability to find data, leaves companies open to fines and opprobrium. Double-Take notes UK regs do not spell out what technology needs to be in place to meet data protection regulations. This is reasonable enough: technology changes quickly, as sometimes does the law.
But governments assume that companies will understand their legal requirements and will implement the right-size solution for their particular situation, service or product. Which is not necessarily correct...Double-Take discusses data loss scenarios and disaster recovery procedures. The company puts forward a good argument for the superiority of replication-based technologies, such as its own, over tape-based back up.
This Oracle paper draws together two strategic trends in IT - the push for good IT governance (as exemplified by frameworks such as ITIL) with the emergence of software as a service.
Drawing on a 2004 Harvard Business School study of 250 companies, the paper notes that firms with "superior IT governance had profits that were at least 20 per cent higher than firms with poor governance. IT governance starts with properly aligned IT goals, but at the core of governance is IT’s implementation of consistent policies, processes, controls and best practices that fulfill those goals".
According to Oracle, SaaS can enable companies to improve service delivery ensure that IT provision is aligned with business goals. Oracle, of course, has its own software-as-a-service, Oracle on-Demand. The paper concludes with three case studies of large companies that consolidated their IT processes, using this service. This is a good paper, but clearly one for big Oracle shops. ®
Well, according to my ITIL book, a Service is "A means of delivering value to Customers by facilitating Outcomes Customers want to achieve without ownership of the specific Costs and Risks."
So according to that definition SaaS is: a company would buy that wants to get the outcomes a particular piece of Software can produce, but doesn't want to assume the direct costs and risks normally associated with purchasing, installing, running, and maintaining that software. So based solely upon the denotative definitions of the words, it is not illogical.
And if you think about, back in the early days of computing, most of it was done on a sort of SaaS basis. You'd buy the service from somebody with the mainframe, and run it on their mainframe according to the agreement.
I suppose in some instances, there still might be some business cases to be made on that model. What I see as the major problem is that these days SaaS seems to be intent on pitching things like replacing your word processing suite with Saas. And to me, that makes no business sense at all.
But yes, they do seem rather intent on mutilating the English language, and both sides of the pond seem to agree about that point.
I'll let my ignorance shine through here...
WTB is "Software as a Service" all about?? Software is applications that run on computing hardware to do a job? The SW may be complicated, pervasive and integrated but it still only helps people to deliver a product or service. In itself, it is not "a Service" is it?
The term "SaaS" sounds very much to me as though it comes from those scoundrels who perpetrated an abuse of the English Language when they re-purposed the word "Technology" to cover any old blx dressed in new, sexy cloths.
I'm a dinosaur so am a bit slow to catch up with these modern trends and vocabulary.