Blog 26.1.2021

Sustainability Within development of digital services

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Sustainability in the development of digital services includes also the project, and consequently, relates not only to the product but also the process and the people within. Therefore, making positive impact through sustainability in the development of digital services should satisfy the following. The software should be green, it should be perdurable, it should bring social added values both for its users and technical community, bear a long-term profit, have a low cost, help evolving organization intellectual capital, and make sure that it is comfortable for the developers to work with as well as that it helps to evolve beneficial knowledge and skills in the long run.

Sustainability Within

Sustainability Within is a set of Good Growth offerings that focuses on sustainability in the software development lifecycle and as an integral part of development activities. This set of offerings can also be used as an overarching model for making a positive impact through sustainability in the development of digital services.


Tech to save the world (environmental)

We need to ensure that we are working towards environmentally friendly software. We need this to make sure that software can be created, used, maintained, and disposed of with minimal impact on the environment.

We can evaluate this from two perspectives: energy consumption and resource consumption. Resources consumption can include other software products, the software, and hardware configuration of the system, digital obsolescence of both software and hardware, and materials e.g. print paper, storage media. Energy is controlled by its efficiency which includes energy efficiency, runtime efficiency, CPU-intensity, memory usage, peripheral intensity, idleness, and algorithmic efficiency. Furthermore, we should also consider how the energy to run the system is produced as we should choose infrastructure platforms that are carbon neutral or even carbon negative.

Digital resilience (technical)

We need to make sure that the design and operation of long-lived, sustainable systems are not hampered by limited support for the change over time and limited preservation of system knowledge. We need this to make sure that software is being created so that it can easily adapt to future change.

Technical software sustainability is related to the long-time usage of software systems and is referred to as perdurability. Both functional and technical aspects influence software survivability. Functional software evolving is due to requirement changes. Technical evolving is generally due to incessant technology evolution. Quality attributes such as maintainability, portability and usability promote software perdurability.

Services for social capital (social)

We need to create software that enhances social capital values.

We can evaluate this via two aspects: the technical community and the software users. Added social value for the technical community comes from enabling participation, communication, and interaction in the software development process. From software users’ perspective, it comes from added social values for the users, such as, improved information security, ethical use of data, and accessibility.

Developer wellbeing (individual)

We need to be creating software that the developers enjoy working with. We need this to make sure that software is being created and maintained in a way that enables developers to be satisfied with their job over a long period of time.

Evaluating this goes deeper into the software development process and how work is organized. There should at least be a comfortable number of working hours, payment, working conditions, et cetera, and the knowledge and skills needed should be constructive for the developers. In Finland, this is usually a no-brainer, but we should make sure that all people that develop the code are well paid and fairly treated in every part of the production chain.

Business savvy software (economic)

We need to create software that is as safe as possible from an economic risks perspective. We need to be able to make sure that software systems are being created so that the stakeholders’ long-term investments are as safe as possible from economic risks.

We can evaluate the development of economically sustainable software from three perspectives: low costs, long-term profitability, and evolving intellectual capital. The software should have a low-cost process whether looking from market requirements value or physical value with respect to cost aspect. The software should bear a long term profit either from innovation value for market or differential value. Consequently, the software development process should help to evolve the intellectual capital whether looking from a human, structural, or relationship value perspective.

Good Growth offering cards for Sustainability Within

Can we do it together?

Check also my discussion starter “Making positive impact through sustainability in the development of digital services” which plays on the idea if we could incorporate sustainability into our daily software development activities as consultants? Are you getting interested? Do connect and let’s start working together on this. Have you checked what Good Growth is about?

Juhana Harmanen
Capability Owner of Web Development
Technology Consultant

Good Growth


Juhana Harmanen

Technology & Software Development

Juhana is the Head of the Technology and Software Development service area. He values a forward-looking vision and working with meaningful projects. He is a hands-on guy and very experience technology professional who helps to renew Goforeans' know-how to meet the current and future needs of customers. Juhana is an outdoors person and has spent twelve short summers as an expedition guide in Lapland. Recently, his free time has been filled with spending time with his children and family, as well as successive renovation and construction projects.

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