Michael D’Onofrio, CEO, Orbus Software, shares his best practices on how to architect organisation change to work towards a more sustainable future.
As outlined by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations (and more recently highlighted in COP26), companies are now focusing on sustainable business strategies in order to transition to net-zero emissions.
According to a study by KPMG, 80% of the top 100 companies now report on their sustainability every year, and hold a strong focus on their climate change and carbon reduction efforts.
Placing a big focus on a sustainability strategy doesn’t only benefit people and the planet, it can also add value to a business, helping to drive success and investment into a company.
Mckinsey reported that having relevant sustainability strategies, including environmental, social, or governance initiatives, helps companies make long-term investments. The report suggests that companies with a strong ESG (environmental, social, and governance) strategy perform better and higher equity returns.
Incorporating Enterprise architecture (EA) – the discipline for proactively and holistically leading organisations toward desired business outcomes – will be key as we transition towards a more sustainable future.
Achieving sustainability goals with Enterprise Architecture
Enterprise Architecture is an essential tool when planning ahead. Previously, many companies assessed short, two to three-year timelines for their business goals. EA, however, creates long-term sustainability strategies, five to ten years ahead of time by mapping out clear business processes.
By helping to define the company’s vision, EA can create a specific capability model, outlining clear strategies the business must follow in order to meet the end goal. For example, if there is a sudden change in direction in a company’s motivation, the overall business model needs to be restructured.
By creating a common language between data domains for sustainability initiatives and assigning a central team to work on the processes, the tool uncovers whether new indicators of an initiative will be successful or not. Enterprise Architecture also assists in identifying potential risks and pinpointing information needed in order to control those setbacks.
Enterprise Architecture typically breaks a business down into five different models:
1. Motivational Model
2. Capability Model
3. Process Architecture
4. Technical Reference Architecture
5. Product and Service Architecture
These models allow businesses to understand both where and how sustainable initiatives need to be implemented. For instance, if a business is using a piece of technology or process that is damaging to the environment, the technical reference architecture model assists in identifying the potential risks it may cause, and recognises the new tools and processes which should be implemented in order to tackle the problem.
As a result, this helps define what is needed to reach a sustainability initiative – whether it be more staff, increased finances, or upgraded technology tools. Additionally, by adopting a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) framework into an overall business strategy, Enterprise Architecture can assist with complex decision-making and help to pinpoint opportunities for sustainable improvement.
A Greener Future
Companies on a global scale simply cannot afford to take sustainable initiatives lightly anymore. They need to find efficient and practical ways of reaching ESG goals.
Practicing Enterprise Architecture can successfully accompany sustainable transformation by bringing the necessary visibility to the company, exposing revealing opportunities, and determining the initiatives.