The Green Kiss of Death for SAP Sustainability
I am sure fellow rabble rouser Thorsten Franz will forgive me liberally borrowing from one of his signature memes (“Kiss of Death”) when the environment (pun intended) requires it. Earlier today, I received the probation notice for this SCN space, Sustainability & CSR. What that means, in SCN administrator terms, is “too little traffic, we shut you down.” What that means to me is: SAP isn’t that interested in Green, except for the color of money. What should this mean to you?
First, I’ll reference some of Thorsten’s prior art, and see if this ties together. In one post (Geek’s Dictionary: What is the Walldorf Kiss of Death?) he claims the signal that a product line or other resource is going to be axed is a phrase along the lines of such-and-such “…will be/stay/remain with us for a long time.” Of course, a clearer signal is an error 503, but we’ll get to that shortly. In a thread in this space, an SCN member asked what’s up with the SAP Carbon Impact software tool (see: Sustainability Integration ); the answer given was thorough, but included this telling phrase: “Our committment [sic] to the domain remains strong.” That’s close enough to “we will be in this business for the long haul.”
Of course, software evolves, features come, and features go (no, really, sometimes developers disable functionality. I am not kidding. It happens). If you would ask SAP executives why Sustainability software would be cut back, the answer would be: customers aren’t buying it, the features are included elsewhere, and drop back to soothing the shareholders. All fine answers, except that, in my view, SAP has given up the high road and re-entrenched themselves in the old world. Personally, the change of verbiage in news reporting from “global warming” to “climate change” panders to the masses, and ignores the extremely real dangers humans have triggered. Would one SAP web site stem the tides? No, but where is the direction on this critical topic from a company that touts itself as a progressive force for change with the “It Gets Better” efforts (cc: Moya Watson ???)
So what does SAP’s Carbon Impact site look like? Is there a marketing announcement for what to do if you get there from an existing URL (of which I have found a few)?
503 Service Unavailable
No server is available to handle this request.
That’s harsh, like you forgot to pay your ISP, or the competition put you out of business.
An example URL: http://www.sap.com/solutions/sustainability/offerings/carbon-impact/index.epx leads to http://www.sapcarbonimpact.com/ which leads to the above 503 error.
Probation? No Secret, Double or Nothing.
What do I mean by the Sustainability space (blogs, forums, document) is “on probation”? As mentioned above, SCN administrators are moving to clean house. Spaces that don’t meet an arbitrary level of traffic are threatened with being archived, or halted. Of course, I’m not going to let this topic die easily, but let’s look at the background and the facts before I simply rant and rave.
You’re on notice: SCN Space Audit and Rehabilitation Process is the document that describes the process SAP/SCN has come up with. Jason Lax, as the Content Specialist (test passed!), must deal with a wide range of topic areas. Setting numeric goals for participation is a reasonably smart method of giving an area some time to demonstrate people are interested.
When I started into this with SAP, the topic was titled “Corporate Social Responsibility.” or just CSR. That must have been deemed too Marxist-leaning (well before the Occupy movement starting getting headlines). I guess that was not wishy-washy enough, so it was recast as the Sustainability topic. I really don’t see much overlap (one is “are you ethical” and the other is “do you care”?). But it’s not like I was on the customer advisory panel, or focus group.
What are the numbers? And what are the units of measure?
Traffic over a Month
|Number of Followers|
|Number of Activities in a Month||Freshness and completeness of the Overview Page|
I can’t share the numbers, as I don’t see them publicly released, but I will say the only value that this space passed is “number of followers”. Which to me means, people want to see information about Sustainability, they just want someone else to do the work. Back to the rant shortly. More data first.
One person has come to my aid (Julius von dem Bussche) in the background, hinting he’d like to do more. Others responded to my shot-across-the-bows tweet from earlier today:
Formulating a #KOD blog post for @SCNcommnet about dwindling community and corporate interest in Sustainability and Green IT.
First, disclosures and disclaimers: I don’t work in a Sustainability role. I have a degree in Environmental Engineering, worked in the field for 20 years, set up environmental monitoring and record keeping of various sorts at government agencies. But I have not used SAP’s software, other than very brief tinkering with the admirable (if unappreciated) eponymous Sustainability Report site (which will need to be scrubbed free of CarbonImpact references for the next iteration I assume – http://www.sapsustainabilityreport.com/energy-environmental-resource-management ). I gave Jeremiah a chance for a quote here, but as we didn’t chat today, I’m using his public tweet.
What do I think will happen?
- This space (Sustainability & CSR) and the related one (Green IT (to merge)) are going to be shut down. Honestly, I don’t know why Green IT was created in the first place; it should have just been a gleam in the Sustainability eye.
- No one will care, except me, Tom Raftery, and a couple others.
- Customers (and developers) working on SuPM will drift back to OSS messages, and posting things in random forums.
- The next super-storm or other cataclysmic climate collapse will trigger more than one SCN member to ask “whatever happened to that idea of being sustainable?”
- SAP Carbon Impact OnDemand [remove] space is stillborn, and should be put out in the recycle bin inside a shoe box. How embarrassing to have no posts. I didn’t even know that was a space.
What do you think will happen?