At the February Open Group conference Conexiam's Ed Harrington & KPN's Stuart Boardman will present on Enterprise Architecture & Sustainability.
Sustainability is not just about carbon footprint and it's certainly not just about that nice CSR badge on your website. It's a basic concern of every enterprise, starting with the question of how sustainable the enterprise itself is. Wikipedia describes “sustainability” as “the capacity of a system to endure and remain functional and productive over time”. Will your Enterprise, your Extended Enterprise be able to adjust to an increasing rate and scale of change and still “remain functional and productive”, achieve its purpose - retain its identity? Can it take a knock and bounce back again (repeatedly)? These are concerns every enterprise architect should be addressing.
But no enterprise is an island and, in the steadily diverser value chains in which most enterprises operate, the sustainability (environmental, social and economic) of the wider world becomes a pre-requisite for that of the enterprise itself. So that needs to be a concern for enterprise architects. Dealing with a multiplicity of stakeholders, complexity of causes and effects and with uncertainty around every decision, requires systems thinking. That's a skill good EA's bring to the table. But it's in the science around sustainability that systems thinking has become most advanced, so there's much we can learn from that field too, use in our enterprises and contribute back to the world.
In this presentation, we'll go into the arguments more deeply and look at some of the thinking that has emerged out of the sustainability movement (and before that from the field of cybernetics). We'll show how this should be applied to EA. But more than anything else, we want to engage the audience in an ongoing dialogue, which will help us all to find ways to make a difference, because "theory is gray my friend but green is the tree of life".
Presentation is on Wednesday February 4th at 2 PM