FAQ - How to choose an eco-responsible SaaS offer


It is very difficult to be able to compare SaaS software solutions in terms of their ecological sobriety.
However, this should become a criterion of choice like any other when you decide to equip yourself with computer software.
DoliCloud offers you some rational indicators allowing you to compare...




The website

This is probably the least decisive criterion, because, after the visit and the choice of software, the company's portal website will no longer be used. Its footprint is therefore negligible on the rest of the use of the solution. However, it is an interesting indicator (because it is easily measurable and comparable) to see the awareness that the society that offers the solution to the current ecological challenge has.
The site ecoindex.fr allows you to offer an eco-score to a website. The DoliCloud portal site obtains a grade of B or C (variable depending on the state of the site's resource caches, the websites competitors are generally classified from D to G).

The choice of host


Another important element in judging the eco-responsibility of an online solution is to analyze the efforts made by the host to reduce the environmental footprint. At DoliCloud, we have chosen 2 local and French hosts, OVH and Scaleway (inter-host replication).

Greenspector has ranked these 2 hosts among the best for their environmental friendliness aspect (with a score of 72 out of 100 each - 2022 ranking).
But this point is not the most important: In fact, from one host to another, the general footprint only varies by a factor of 2 to 3 maximum depending on this classification, while from one software to another 'other, the need environmental (imposed by its need for electronic terminals, its need for memory, storage or CPU, therefore electronic components, etc.), varies by a factor of 25.
To simplify, let's say that well-optimized software (ecological cost of 1) on a bad host (cost of 3) will always be much less harmful than a poorly designed and therefore more polluting solution (ecological cost of 25) even hosted by an exemplary host (cost of 1). Because its footprint balance will then be (3 x 1 = 3) or less than the second case (25 x 1 = 25).
The next point will therefore be an even more important criterion.

Optimization of the solution


The software itself and its resource requirements and optimization are undoubtedly the most impactful element in the carbon footprint of an online solution. It is therefore especially important to analyze this footprint which results from the use of the software and the constraints on the electronics and resources used, but also from its manufacturing process. DoliCloud is based on the Dolibarr solution, which is Open Source software. Reusability software components, made possible by Open Source development, but also the robustness and above all the optimization facilitated by the publication of sources, makes DoliCloud a solution much more efficient than most proprietary closed solutions. The choice of technical architecture, made upstream of the development of the Dolibarr software, in order to have a solution with a low memory footprint, CPU and disk widens the gap even further, including with respect to other Open Source solutions. Thus the Dolibarr solution is the only ERP and CRM that can serve an SME, without negative impact on performance, on a simple Raspberry 3 connected to an external SSD drive (still prefer, in production, to use a real dedicated or shared server with an adequate backup policy).
It is therefore important to succeed in quantifying the overall footprint of the life cycle of the use of SaaS solutions in order to compare them with each other...

Overall eCO2 footprint of the life cycle (software manufacturing, hosting, use, etc.)

The measurable footprint of the entire life cycle (manufacturing of the software, hosting of the solution, footprint of the hardware required on the server side, but also user in terms of terminal requirements, needs in electronics, electricity, water, etc.) is undoubtedly the most significant indicator for estimate the eco-responsibility of a solution. Unfortunately, it is also the hardest to evaluate.

We are therefore working to create such a tool (currently in the specifications phase) which will also allow you to compare solutions with each other...
Unfortunately, we do not yet have a date for making this tool available, as the work on such a tool is gigantic and we are looking for partners ready to co-finance this initiative...

The company's external commitments

This involves looking at society's involvement in its external actions in relation to the decarbonization of the planet.
We do not consider this as a criterion to be taken into account, as companies which use this criterion through donations (often symbolic in terms of their turnover) use it to achieve GreenWashing (= operation which consists of making a good gesture for the planet or communicating about a good gesture, with the simple aim of diverting attention to all the bad ones having a harmful impact well beyond the benefit of the good ones). So, it is very simple to make a donation to an institution fighting for ecology. The most polluters are also those who use this practice the most, which is all the simpler because the money given is not not that of the decision-maker but that of the company (the fruit of everyone's work).
But, even if we advise against giving too much importance to this point, it is still better than nothing. As for DoliCloud, the choice was made to offer financial support to the initiative Team For The Planet.