Reduce, Reuse, Recycle — You’ve heard it before, but did you know the saying dates back to the 1970s? That’s when Americans first really got into the underlying earth-conscious movement. As a philosophy, the three Rs have heavily impacted everyone from individual families to large corporations.
How SaaS Companies Can Adopt the Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Mantra
The Environmental Protection Agency lists some serious benefits following the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…” mantra. It’s good for the environment, it’s good for our pocketbooks, and it’s good for the future.
You might almost say it’s good for the soul.
But “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” typically applies to physical, tangible objects. After all, tangible things have the biggest impact on the world around us.
That doesn’t mean that the three Rs don’t have their place for companies that provide software as a service. However, “Reduce, reuse, recycle” has implications for these brands’ development, budgeting, and even overhead.
Building on the Back of Established Software
One of the recommendations of the EPA when it comes to the three Rs is to “buy used.” The idea behind it is to use something that’s already in existence rather than putting money and resources into creating something new. For budget-conscious buyers, it’s a helpful tip.
It’s helpful for SaaS companies, too. Not that a software developer can go out and buy a used program to market as their own, but it still applies in principle.
Software development relies on coding, and coding is frequently reused and repurposed in different ways. Going into initial development, SaaS companies can establish best practices that allow for later adaptation of new code, such as writing codes that can be easily extended if necessary, removing extraneous coding, and ensuring that the coding is high-quality.
Other assets are reusable as well, such as test suites, designs, and documentation.
Combining assets and using them as the springboard for new development cuts down on the workforce needed to create new software, lowering the overall cost of the development and providing budget benefits to the company.
Reusing Space Within SaaS Applications
Still, looking for the budget benefits that the three Rs can bring to your SaaS company? A significant avenue that shouldn’t be overlooked is the use of space within the design of the software — specifically, how that space could be leveraged for applicable marketing and advertising.
SaaS design is typically done with attention to both form and function. That means a layout that makes information readily understandable, with plenty of space around the content. But sometimes, that space isn’t necessary for a good user experience, and it may be more efficient if repurposed into advertising space.
However, this reuse of space requires caution, as advertising can detract from the overall UX if not handled judiciously. Typically, advertising in-app or throughout the software is expected for free or open-source software. If a SaaS company charges a reasonable amount for its services, the customer may quickly grow irritated with additional advertising.
Hulu and other video streaming services are good examples of this. Hulu has tiered pricing that dictates how often the viewer sees advertisements. IMDb, on the other hand, offers free entertainment, so ads are expected. However, IMDb still keeps their advertising to a minimum, whereas even the lower-priced tier for Hulu often gets complaints on the frequency of ad breaks.
With caution, overall, reusing in-app or in-software space for appropriate advertising can be an excellent way to stagger your content and repurpose existing space to boost your revenue.
Hardware Is Impossible To Ignore — Even For SaaS Businesses
We all want to pursue a business model that lowers the amount of saleable hardware and requires product packaging. Theoretically, SaaS businesses have it made. Their subscribers don’t have to purchase physical objects, and so recycling is a cinch.
But that isn’t entirely the case. Even for SaaS companies that exclusively sell intangible products, there’s still a certain amount of hardware that must go into the development and management of the company.
It’s pretty much impossible, for example, for a tech company to avoid providing computers and development software to their dev team and programmers. They have to use something to provide a finished product.
When it comes to tangibles, it’s recommended for SaaS companies to keep their developers stocked with up-to-date technology. Ensure that the technology runs well, reduces power usage, and doesn’t need replacement every six months to a year. This requires more of an initial investment, but it’s a reduction of consumption that benefits the company and the environment in the long run.
Of course, when it comes time to jettison existing computer hardware, SaaS companies may be able to resell products to offset the cost of the new. But, if not, it’s time to employ the traditional meaning of the three Rs and recycle your old computers and laptops.
The majority of SaaS companies run on a subscription basis, but some still do offer tangible products — CD-ROMS, for example. In that case, product packaging can also be made to meet best-practice criteria for the three Rs.
The Three Rs for SaaS
Reduce, reuse, recycle — it’s good for the environment, good for a company’s budget, and good for the soul.
The principle of the three Rs is a best business practice, no matter what a company sells, whether it’s software or hardware. Of course, for SaaS brands, it may require a little extra thinking outside the box. But, since the principle benefits the brand and boosts sustainability for everyone involved, it’s definitely worth it.
Image credit: reduce-recycle-reuse; pexels; thank you!