Spaghetti & Spiders

Oracle HE/SOA roundtable in Reading – attendees from Oracle, Griffiths Waite, JISC, & Universities: LJMU, Surrey, Oxford, Imperial. Interesting discussion about spiders & spaghetti = architecture-ish diagrams developed to show all the interface & sub-systems that sit around the Student Record System. LJMU has the Spider, Imperial has spaghetti. View that if the JISC Flexible Service Delivery Programme gathered & rationalised this area would be beneficial. Oracle looking at rationalising data definitions across products. Oracle: service consists of a contract, an implementation and an interface; if first and last exist, outsourcing is an easier option.

Centrality of student personal information – can this be abstracted, again for FSD to look at. Also: addressing the pain of change from where we are now to a service approach. Oracle very much pushing the incremental approach – harvest EA contributions from real projects, within a high level reference architecture – Oracle’s 8 segment circle approach; similar to approach adopted at LJMU – Building Blocks & Re-Use – Incremental Project Harvesting. Role for UCISA – discussion around need to engage with UCAS ref common interfaces/data definitions.

& discussion again ref lack of Archimate support in Oracle BPA Suite – when it is in the IDS Scheer Aris parent product – hopefully something will be done, LJMU won’t be moving to anything without Archimate support.

But overall a good event – & notably free of sales pitches, Oracle will be putting on future events & do genuinely appear to be offering a forum without any marketing angle – they’re quite hapy to include Universities that aren’t & aren’t likely to be Oracle customers. Lengthy discussion afterwards with Oracle & Bill Olivier from JISC about how Oracle might contribute to the FSD Programme – & I think there could be some mileage in it.


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