University of Twente Student Theses


An Enterprise Architecture Approach Towards Sustainability and Environmental Performance

Iseke, Ann-Cathrin (2020) An Enterprise Architecture Approach Towards Sustainability and Environmental Performance.

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Abstract:For far too long, environmental sustainability has been considered an unrelated discipline, nearly independent from Information Systems research that is focused on the business environment and organizations’ Enterprise Architecture approaches. Ultimately, integrating environmental strategies from the start saves costs, fosters effectiveness and creates synergies compared to half-hearted attempts of so-called green initiatives. In order to manage the transition to sustainable enterprises and sustainable enterprise systems development, environmental policies, strategies and standards need to be integrated in the domain of Enterprise Architecture to be tangible for Enterprise Architects. The Enterprise Architecture language ArchiMate provides the ideal vehicle for introducing environmental sustainability to the enterprise using Enterprise Architecture. This thesis combines a two-method approach where all necessary environmental concepts are gathered, defined and mapped to ArchiMate, consolidating relevant domain-specific concepts from literature which are later revisited and challenged by practice. The contribution of this research is multifold: First of all, this research provides a new set of concepts based on the ArchiMate language that allows enterprises to model their individual environmental sustainability strategies embedded and aligned in the overall Enterprise Architecture. Second, a tool is provided to measure and analyze the organization’s environmental performance. This tool offers the means for improvement of environmental performance on all levels of the enterprise and supports enterprise architects in the creation of new improved designs of their organizations’ to-be enterprise architecture. Third, next to the approach, this research also completed a feedback-based evaluation of the proposal and incorporated the domain experts’ feedback reflecting the need and relevance of the topic for the practitioners community. The approach is novel in several ways. First, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to complement enterprise architecture languages with sustainability analysis. Second, our evaluation indicated that our proposal on how to integrate sustainability into enterprise architecture, is promising and remains practical. However, more empirical research is needed to evaluate its usefulness in various context, so that more generalizable conclusions regarding its benefits could be drawn. Lastly, this research allows to draw a number of implications which highlight the need for making the topic of environmental sustainability more accessible to practitioners in organizations. This already implies the prerequisite to integrate the topic in the student’s curriculum to create more awareness and sensitivity for environmental sustainability in the organizational context. Further, with this research being characterized by the novelty of the topic, the discussion on how EA can support organizations in their environmental sustainability efforts only has been started in this thesis and calls the researchers community for further investigation.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:54 computer science, 85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Information Technology MSc (60025)
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