30th September – Brief Update

Deadline for submission of Q3 Report – nearly ready to go.
Email ref Additional Funds received – and making progress with this. Have commissioned one day’s on-site consultancy from BiZZdesign, to validate/advise on our use of Archimate/Architect, plus a further day’s worth of follow-on telephone/email advise and guidance. Also in discussions with Oracle who have already offered to review/evaluate current work and advise on future Architecture in the light of future changes ref our Student System. We will be attending an Oracle SOA seminar in London on October 8th, which is to be delivered jointly with Griffiths Waite, an Oracle-related SOA consultancy. So objctive for the day will be to talk to them and find out if they might be able to assist.

18th September – IMS Quarterly Summit on Interoperability Now & Next

Attended the above as invited to sit on a panel session ref “Is Higher & Further Education Fit for SOA: is SOA fit for HE/FE”.
Came at the end of a long week/day but actually provokjed a very lively discussion & got a lot of the issues out on the table. Other participants were Ian Dolphin, who heads up the JISC e-Framework strand, Ronald Hamm from SURF, and Dan Rehak from the Learning Systems Architecture Lab, & was chaired by Mark Stiles from Staffordshire University. Probably a very partisan summary, but I felt that the main issues that came out were:
– SOA is probably more fit for HE/FE than HE/FE are fit (ready?) for SOA; silo-thinking is a major obstacle, Universities may buy applications for functional departments, Architecture approach means buying applications for the University- Governance is critical: no point developing services if nobody will use them- in terms of building alignment between the business & IT, an Architecture approach is important, more EA than SOA, the latter being at the technical level- can’t sell SOA/EA to your senior management by talking about SOA/EA, need to talk about business benefits: effectiveness/efficiency/enhanced customer service- need a ‘burning platform’ to demonstrate the value of SOA/EA, but within the context of understanding the overall high-level architecture/context, or this may reinforce silo-thinking – need to push the major suppliers to engage with this in practice, to ensure that their systems have standard APIs etc
Quite gratifying that the discussion was largely pitched at the strategic/business level within what was essentially a technical conference

17th September – General Update

Internally – a meeting of our Learner Centred Services Project Board (project to increase process automation/self-service/portals etc for student access/administration) led to a request to produce some diagramatic representation of how our different functional implementations of Oracle CRM – for Welfare case management; enquiry management; Clearing scripting; employer/external brokerage; etc – are integrated through use of one system. Essentially a request to show what services are realised out of CRM to support which processes – ideal candidate for an Archimate/Architect model which is what we’ll presnt to the next Board meeting.
Should reference the UCISA CISG Governance seminar last week – unfortunately the JISC EA flyers didn’t arrive in time, but I did reference EA/SOA in my presentation and there was a very active discussion. CISG Committee meeting the next day proposed an EA/SOA seminar in September 2009, possibly in liaison with the JISC.
Also have communicated with the British Computer Society ref their proposed EA SIG – the person who proposed it got 57 expressions of interest & has now received feedback from a smaller group wishing to take an active role. This includes me – so I now have to consider whether I can really find the time! – plus interestingly someone from Greenwich University.
15th September – meeting ref JISC Innovation Base
Interesting meeting to discuss proposals around the JISC IB, building on the e-Framework to create something more comprehensive/of possibly greater practical use to the HE community. Useful discussion around need to upload from other modelling tools eg BiZZdesign/in Archimate format, rather than having to specifically put things into e-Framework format eg SUMS with all associated overheads – not exactly guaranteed to encourage submissions. Agreed that while many may want to use the content of an IB, comparatively few will want to contribute – but without the contributions the many will not want to use…
Noted that will contain filters/views, not at the level provided by, say, BiZZdesign Architect initially, but at the domain level, as horizontal/vertical slices. Useful that intention is not to build a huge generic model of HE, but to provide a repository of models in a common format.
Useful analogy from Wilbert Kraan – needs to be like flickr. When you put photos on flickr, you don’t have to create specific versions/formats of the photos other than those you already have.
Possible other uses: combatting the ‘we do things differently here’ syndrome by providing a repository of models of how actual HEIs do things (which will turn out to be largely the same). Providing evidence for selling solutions to Senior Management? (might be a bit ambitious).
Worth keeping an eye on.


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