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by Pasi Anttila, Enterprise Architect

IT cannot be more green. Or can it?

Sustainability in business refers to a company’s strategy for finding new and innovative ways to address sustainability challenges. Sustainability capabilities can be seen to be among the top attributes that organizations will seek in their technology vendors in the future. We at Nortal view sustainability as a natural evolution for business development, helping our customers to act on sustainability.

Sustainability and compliance, the megatrends of our time, are constantly moving forward. The focus in this area is increasingly on finding new and innovative ways to address sustainability challenges. Compliance issues continue to arise when stakeholders are becoming more vocal in their demands and requirements. 

When we are discussing sustainability in business, the aim is to ensure that the company can continue to operate and grow over the long term. It’s all about minimizing risks and maximizing opportunities associated with environmental, social, and economic factors – and these issues are becoming increasingly critical for all companies across all industries. As an example, in the global survey published by McKinsey, even +80% of C-suite executives and investment professionals believe that in addition to all those critically important environmental impacts, sustainability programs will generate more shareholder value in five years’ time than they do today. Studies also show that responsible leadership may generate even 3,7 times higher average operating margins. No one wants to be among the lower ESG performers. 

Nevertheless, good intentions are no longer enough. The need to act on sustainability cannot be stressed out too much. In this article, we are discussing Nortal’s view on sustainability as a natural evolution for business development. We believe that digitalization is one of the key enablers for a sustainable and profitable business. For decades, we have applied the principles of building distributed and composable architectures to our clients, and throughout this journey, we have made sustainability a solid part of building capabilities for our customers.

Prerequisites for sustainability and profitability

Sustainability and profitability are closely linked in today’s business landscape. When implementing sustainable practices, the benefits can be seen in the company’s bottom line. When helping executives develop sustainability strategies that will support profitability, they should follow certain main approaches. 

Our approach and foundation are laid upon three pillars, traceability, transparency, and controllability. We have experienced that whether it’s developing processes or coming up with new solutions, the same capabilities that are the foundation of sustainable business are also the foundation of profitable business. In other words, developing sustainable development capabilities creates the capabilities to develop a more profitable business and vice versa.

We build traceability via connected processes from sourcing to delivery, including partners’ parts of the value chain. By ensuring full traceability, it is possible for companies to identify areas where they can improve their sustainability efforts. Transparency provides observability of events and visibility to the whole value chain. It makes it easier to identify issues and work towards solutions. By transparency, companies build trust with customers and stakeholders and create a more sustainable and ethical supply chain. Controllability is achieved through integrated steering tools and processes, which give management the tools to control the entire value chain. This enables companies to make informed decisions, reduce waste, and improve efficiency, leading to more sustainable and profitable business operations.

Holistic ecosystems – a new era of customer value

In addition to the profitability approach, the organizations that are winning in the 21st century place themselves at the center of powerful, value, network-based ecosystems. It is a holistic approach that considers the interdependencies and interactions between various stakeholders and systems. These ecosystems generate and multiply customer value. 

Regarding sustainability in the ICT landscape, we have been able to offer our customers increased agility, adaptability, and improved IT lifecycle management through an ecosystem approach. When building an ecosystem of shared value, the risk of vendor lock-in can be minimized, allowing companies to have the best-of-breed approach to choose the best tools for them to work with rather than trying to adapt to certain limited options. By combining leading business solutions with a non-monolithic system and domain-driven modular architecture, companies can ensure high-quality and user-centric design with a world-class user experience. A composable ICT landscape that supports pace layered thinking creates the capability to build traceability, transparency, and controllability for business, enabling sustainable IT through scalable and evolving transformation. 

Creating meaningful impact

When thinking about sustainability in making an impact, it is all about how we’re creating the future. It’s actually a pretty huge responsibility to really think about – how are things going to look like in 50 or 100 years? 

One way to approach this in the ICT landscape is value chain identification and modeling. This helps companies to better understand how they can positively impact the environment and society in the long run. Modern architecture and technologies can act as a catalyst for identifying and defining value chain development opportunities, helping companies to develop sustainable solutions. Creating a business case and setting performance indicators to measure value are also important steps toward sustainability. These will allow companies to measure and monitor the impact of development and improve their performance accordingly. Ultimately, sustainable development helps companies create a positive impact on the environment and society, leading to improving reputation and profitability in the long term. 

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