SaaS and being Socially Responsible

SaaS (a.k.a. cloud computing) is the future.  We know this to be true since SaaS is an increasingly common delivery model for business applications.  However, as well as examining how SaaS can drive business transformation, it is equally important to consider how SaaS relates to social responsibility. Environmental considerations are becoming more important to everyone.

Analysis
Indeed, in the latest competitive benchmark research (where we sample over 15,000 respondents across the software industry), we trend the average competitor (the average of all competitors) for how socially responsible the SaaS ‘software industry as a whole’ is considered by customers. The results are quite clear as figure 1 shows.

Figure 1: Trend analysis of being socially responsible for the average brand within the SaaS software industry since FY19’RQ3 to present.  The dotted line shows the linear fit to these data.

Figure 1 presents the industry average rating for being socially responsible within software for SaaS environments. The dotted line clearly shows the increasing linear trend, which implies that, on average, all brands in software are becoming more socially responsible with time, and customers are rewarding them for it. For clarity, a score of 50% means 1 in 2 respondents thought the brand was socially responsible, this also means that 1 in 2 did not. Thus, since FY20’RQ3 to present, on average, brands are seen as being more socially responsible than not.

SaaS customers, therefore, ‘increasingly’ care about being socially responsible and, clearly, software vendors are ‘increasingly’ taking this brand image attribute seriously. If either of these two statements were false, then the trend within Figure 1 would have a negative gradient.

What can we do about it and how is Micro Focus performing? We can exploit this fact because environmental considerations are important to customers.

Ranking analysis for FY21’RQ2 SaaS

Figure 2: Ranking analysis for FY21’RQ2 SaaS customers across the whole software landscape comparing how socially responsible customers think the brand is.

The above figure presents the latest socially responsible top-two box satisfaction for each brand* at the worldwide level in SaaS software. This percentage shows the number of customers responding with the top scores.  To take the value of 50% as an example, a way of interpreting this would be: 1 in 2 customers liked how socially responsible the brand is, and, therefore, 1 in 2 did not. Generally, then, on average, all software companies are not seen as being socially responsible (average is 52% top-two box satisfaction) and so for Micro Focus to be above the industry average is a good feat.  However, it also reveals that we have some way to go to be seen as an industry leader regarding social responsibility. However, Micro Focus is ranked as being 2% better than the average competitor in the industry. To draw comparison against some of our competitors, we are: 1% better than McAfee, 5% better than Atlassian, 7% better than BMC, 8% better than Google Cloud, and 9% better than Splunk at being socially responsible. *SaaS Sample Size Worldwide: n=5,866, Micro Focus n=527, and all competitors n=5,339.

Conclusions
Clearly, we must share ‘how’ environmentally friendly and socially responsible our business is.  Brands are expected to become guardians of sustainability, and – to take the example of SaaS – customers care about this. If we are committed to being an innovative, industry-leading company, we need to demonstrate further commitment to social responsibility. Having a clear sustainability strategy will not only increase brand reputation and help with talent retention and attraction, but it will also enable us to further our business goals and achieve economic transformation.

This article was co-authored by Dr. James D. BorderickRosalind Skillen and Neil Franklin

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