ICT Sustainability

Assessment and Strategies for a Low Carbon Future

An Online Graduate Course & Book by Tom Worthington MEd, FACS CP

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Sustainability needs to be incorporated into the models and plans used improve business performance. One of the strategic tools for business is Enterprise Architecture (EA).

The Australian Government Information Management Office, in their Australian Government Architecture (AGIMO, p. 290, 2011) define Enterprise Architecture (EA) as:

"The explicit description and documentation of the current and desired relationships among business and management processes and information technology. An EA describes the ‘current architecture’ and ‘target architecture’ to include the rules and standards and systems life cycle information to optimise and maintain the environment which the agency wishes to create and maintain by managing its ICT portfolio. The EA must also provide a strategy that will enable the agency to support its current state and also act as the roadmap for transition to its target environment. These transition processes will include an agency's capital planning and investment control processes, agency EA planning processes and agency systems life cycle methodologies."

Neil Ward-Dutton in his blog posting on Real-world Enterprise Architecture part I: journey vs destination (2007a) argues that it should not focus too much on the technical nature of EA outputs (diagrams and reports) and concentrate on communicating with business people and stakeholder engagement. In Part 2 (2007b) he argues that large organisations are rarely truly centralised and actually use a federated style of IT work.

Models

For its Reference Models, AGIMO (p12, 2011) adapted the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) of the United States Government, which has five areas:

  1. Performance Reference Model (PRM)
  2. Business Reference Model (BRM)
  3. Service Reference Model (SRM)
  4. Data Reference Model (DRM)
  5. Technical Reference Model (TRM)

Performance Reference Model (PRM)

The Performance Reference Model (PRM) shows the relationship between input and output of the process being modelled and allows both to be measured and reported. AGIMO define:

Business Reference Model

The Business Reference Model (BRM) provides a functional view of the operations and its services of an organisation. This need not follow the existing organisational structure as it should reflect what the organisation provides its clients, not how it is currently structured. AGIMO (p. 102, 2011) uses a modified form of the US Federated Enterprise Architecture Business Reference Model (FEA-BRM). This is intended to provide a of whole-of-government approach to providing services. AGIMO identifies three levels in its BRM:

  1. Business Areas: which describe government functionality and activities surrounding the operations of government
  2. Lines of Business within each business area: which relate to government functions at the middle level of the BRM hierarchy
  3. Business Capabilities under each Line of Business (LoB): which relate to government sub-functions, at the lowest level of the BRM hierarchy.

Service Reference Model (SRM)

The AGIMO Service Reference Model classifies Service Domains and within these Service Types used to build the ICT system (AGIMO, p. 165, 2011):

  1. Customer Services
    • Customer Relationship Management
    • Customer Preferences
    • Customer Initiated Assistance
  2. Process Automation Services
    • Tracking and Workflow
    • Routing and Scheduling
  3. Business Management Services
    • Management of Process
    • Organisational Management
    • Investment Management
    • Supply Chain Management
  4. Digital Asset Services
    • Content Management
    • Document Management
    • Knowledge Management
    • Records Management
  5. Business Analytical Services
    • Analyses and Statistics
    • Visualisation
    • Knowledge Discovery
    • Business Intelligence
    • Reporting
  6. Back Office Services
    • Data Management
    • Human Resources
    • Financial Management
    • Assets/Materials Management
    • Development and Integration
    • Human Capital / Workforce Management
  7. Support Services
    • Security Management
    • Collaboration
    • Search
    • Communication
    • Systems Management
    • Forms Management

Data Reference Model (DRM)

A Data Reference Model defines the information used across an organisation (AGIMO, p. 191, 2011). As an example of the data description for "person" and "event" entities:

This allows different agencies of the Australian Government to share data on people and events.

Technical Reference Model (TRM)

The Technical Reference Model defines the ICT to be used t implement what is described in the other models (AGIMO, p. 246, 2011). This can be as detailed as defining which web browser will be used, or with the use of standards.

Now Read

  1. Ward-Dutton's Real-world Enterprise Architecture part I (2007a) and Part II (2007b).
  2. Chapter 2, Reference Model Overview, (AGIMO, pp. 12-18, 2011).

Questions

  1. Enterprise Architecture for sustainability: EA has a bewildering range of models and diagrams to describe the business of an organisation. Pick one model or diagram from the EA of your organisation, or one you are familiar with and explain how sustainability goals can be advanced using it. If you do not have access to EA for an organisation, use the Australian Government Architecture Reference Models (AGIMO, 2011).
  2. Centralised and decentralised use of ICT: Documents such as the Australian Government Architecture Reference Models (AGIMO, 2011), imply an organisation has just one way of working. But Neil Ward-Dutton in his blog "Real-world Enterprise Architecture part II" (2007b) says that large organisations are rarely truly centralised and actually use a federated style of IT work. Give examples from your organisation, or an organisation you are familiar with, of centralised or decentralised use of ICT and its implications for energy savings strategies.

Next: Procurement.


About the book: ICT Sustainability: Assessment and Strategies for a Low Carbon Future

Edition Notice

ICT Sustainability is about how to assess, and reduce, the carbon footprint and materials used with computers and telecommunications. These are the notes for an award winning graduate course on strategies for reducing the environmental impact of computers and how to use the Internet to make business more energy efficient.

Copyright © Tom Worthington, 2017

Second edition.

ISBN: 978-1-326-96794-9. (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-326-95850-3. (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-326-95849-7. (ePub eBook)
ISBN: 978-1-326-96791-8. (PDF eBook)

Cover shows Power on-off symbol: line within a circle (IEC 60417-5010).

These notes have been used for the courses:

  1. Green Technology Strategies: offered in the Computer Professional Education Program, Australian Computer Society (first run as "Green ICT Strategies" in February 2009),
  2. ICT Sustainability (COMP7310), in the Graduate Studies Select program, Australian National University (first run July 2009), and
  3. Green ICT Strategies (COMP 635), Athabasca University (Canada). Adapted for North America by Brian Stewart.

Course materials available free on-line, under at Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license at http://www.tomw.net.au/ict_sustainability/