[Tribune] How does enterprise architecture contribute to sustainable development?

The digital revolution has an energy cost and a definite impact on the environment. Consumers and businesses must be aware of this. Leslie Robinet, Service Director at Mega International, discusses in this forum the sustainable management of the IT portfolio.

For 30 years, digital technology has impacted uses in the economy, access to knowledge, health… and the list is far from exhaustive. If digital uses are dematerialized, their architecture is very real and today still feeds on mainly fossil energies, to the detriment of renewable energies.

The successful businesses of tomorrow will be those who practice Sustainable Enterprise Architecture (EA) today. But how do the different layers of Enterprise Architecture contribute to sustainability?

What is sustainability?

Sustainability describes sustainable development as a mode of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. A sustainable company is robust, capable of withstanding the disruptive forces of a changing world, without endangering the resources, human and material, necessary for its development and survival.

The sustainable health of the company consists in adopting a holistic point of view that establishes a lasting balance with its constantly changing environment. Beyond financial performance, risk management and regulatory compliance, sustainability involves adopting higher ethical standards, while demonstrating its integrity with regard to society, the economy and the economy. environment.

Enterprise architecture and sustainable development?

The application of business architecture fundamentals (process management, IT architecture, etc.) boosts progress towards a sustainable business by integrating CSR criteria at each architectural level: strategy and decision-making, organizational processes, logistics and operating environments. work, IT portfolio management and IS design / evolution.

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The practice of enterprise architecture supports the economic and digital transformation of organizations by providing the required visibility of the operation of the company: which organization, with which information system, for which objectives, etc. It helps identify opportunities for improvement such as process optimization and streamlining of the IT infrastructure. It also gives the possibility of formalizing transformation initiatives having a positive impact over time by modeling, among other things, the target information systems and processes that we want to obtain.

Towards a sustainable business architecture?

After having set the various objectives of the organization and the expected results, the value chains of operations and the IS must adapt in order to serve the corporate strategy, with the aim of installing sustainable behaviors in the culture of the organization. ‘business.

A lack of vision generates waste, bad practices and eventual failures. Governance, internal policies and processes are used to communicate on best practices and can be documented in a sustainability report. This concerns, for example: due diligence, management of the life cycle of materials, procurement, IT security, whistleblowing procedures and optimization of data storage. Carrying out the value chain mapping then makes it possible to visualize the life cycle of a product.

For sustainable management of the IT portfolio

How to rationalize its IT resources and consequently its impact on the planet? The optimization of the information system requires awareness through an inventory of the state of deployments and existing uses. As regards the evaluation of the IT portfolio, it can be based on criteria of cost or technological reliability. It is also based on business value, optimized functional coverage, as well as environmental, social and governance investment data.

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When integrating the risks associated with decision-making, the company takes into account not only the elements of CSR but also the sustainability ratings of suppliers via a score such as that of Ecovadis for example. This also involves the environmental impact of technologies and the deployment of cloud solutions increasingly based on the use of clean energy.

Why a sustainable application architecture?

Today, many of our human activities are based on information technology. Integrating sobriety into IT projects and product design is an important commitment to help preserve the planet. According to The Shift Project: “Digital energy consumption is now increasing by 9% per year. It is possible to reduce it to 1.5% per year by adopting digital sobriety as a principle of action. »Eco-design and Green IT approaches reduce the impact on the environment and modernize the IS through three key principles: customer value, the definition of sober design principles and the move to a application architecture.

Building a better future on ecological standards requires adapting, rethinking our habits and modernizing our methods and technologies. Enterprise Architecture (EA) helps develop the learning capabilities of an organization to evolve with its environment. This is the reason why CSR can be a common thread for the implementation of a management strategy that takes into account the profitability, risks and impact of the company.

The successful businesses of tomorrow are practicing sustainable architecture today!