UCISA Enterprise & Service Oriented Architectures Seminar part 1

16th September, attending the above in Cardiff – great turn out, must be around seventy people, around forty institutions represented, would have been less than half that a year ago. Good news in terms of creating a head of steam.

First presentation – Chris Cobb, PVC Roehampton, giving the overview in an HE context, excellent as always. Some discussion ref how to sell EA/how difficult it is to sell something with only a long-term payback – not necessarily the case, tactical EA, using EA to understand what you’ve got now & exploit it better.

Next Hugh Griffiths, Griffiths-Waite – Oracle SOA Partner. Lot of good tips on approaches/models etc. My concern is around the language – the continuing references to the IT-Business divide. The lessons of Appreciative Inquiry are relevant here – the language influences/creates the direction. We should talk about EA as a means of getting better information systems & services support for the business, not as a means to ‘align business & IT’ or ‘heal the business IT divide’. Words like ‘align’ & ‘divide’ suggest that there is a problem to be fixed (which may be true, but that’s not the point) rather than a better future to be built – plus the usual point about IT being part of the business not separate from it, at least I hope so, we should have moved on from this by now. & don’t get me started on Governance!

Also, ref EA/SOA maturity models – the question surely isn’t ‘are we succeeding with SOA/EA?’ but ‘do our information systems effectively support our current operations & strategic direction?’.  If the answer is yes, maybe we don’t need to do EA/SOA – would argue that we still need EA as this helps us answer the question, but I do wonder what exactly these maturity models tell us about the business, and maybe there are other questions to be answered first.

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