JISC FSD STG Workshop 25th January 2010

So, attending 3rd workshop of Programme at Goodenough College, London – ‘Flexible Service Delivery – First Results’

Intro: Sarah Porter/JISC – Why FSD is important today? (my underline). Finance, more (same?) with less, flexibility, responsiveness. Understand environment, be open, disaggregate etc – integration/hosting – so that’s my pitch from tomorrow gone then!

Point: FSD = all about sharing/collaboration; evidence across sector is that response to difficult times is dog eat dog, divide & rule, noting already published commentary about fragmentation/heightened competition/sector  groupings/failure of sector to present united front. FSD/EA should sit above this as positive community.

SOA Middleware Pilot Project Results: Paul Hopkins/De Montfort & Fulcrum. Student Tracking & Engagement Proof of Concept – STEP-C. So far very generic, then history ref SOA etc from Fulcrum. Not sure where this is getting me yet – SAMO so far. Solid/liquid/gas analogy – database = solid; middleware = liquid; presentation = gas. Quite neat, not sure if it works, but – quite neat.

One thought – proof of concept ref can SOA/ESB enable extraction of information from disparate systems? Would have thought the answer was yes before we started.  Also as essentially a reporting solution, could have been done in other ways. Seems to be an assumption that big vendors want to tie SOA/ESB into own applications – not sure that this is really the case? Comment from Paul Hopkins ref service reusability etc – have to believe what Fulcrum tell us – so who else might we believe?

Undoubtedly we do need a new approach to delivery, so what could we call it? – ooh, how about the aggregation of tservices at the point of delivery to the customer, or something like that…

Far, far too technical & detailed for me, but maybe I’m not the audience, albeit I’m in it…

Interesting discussion around standards & degree to which HEIs want to be vendor-independent. But again, do vendors all really want to avoid standards to create tie-in?

Centre for e-Research/Simon Waddington, King’s College. EA in Research. Interesting that benefits include collaboration, & barriers include competition – probably a common theme. Focus on research, but looking at integration points with other systems. Producing Archimate/BiZZdesign models. Guerilla EA – building bottom up. Great set of acronyms! Looks good.

Learning Support Systems/Robert Moores, Leeds Metropolitan. FSD/EA explorer. Staff: appointed Technology Architect; also IS Liaison Officers; Lean Team for BPR. Governance – EA Steering Group to report to ISG, senior body responsible for Information Strategy. Took idea for common framework for Projects/Programmes from LJMU! Investigating Oracle SOA Suite & OS alternatives. Principles: just enough, & just good enough. See a lot of synergies between ITIL & SOA. BIILS – holistic service costings method. Have existing in-house ESB – Calopus – to be replaced. Creating models brings benefits, rather than correctness of models themselves – good point. Again, looks good.

Making the Business Case/Luke Taylor, University of Bristol. Recap of December workshop. Questions: what does FSD mean for my organisation? Where are you starting from? How will you get started? Next steps? – good ones. Key point: Governance is highly dependent on organisational context.

We do seem to be covering/recovering the same ground: how do you get started; how do you get senior management buy-in; how do you introduce a Governance framework; what’s the business case; etc. Probably needs a dose of JFDI.

Seems also to be some push to promote BPM as an end in itself/divorced from EA: a route that I would counsel against unless within the context of an overall FSD/EA roadmap and related to an Operating Model, even though it is a perfectly legitimate activity seems to me to go against the holistic spirit of FSD and misses out the understanding of relationships between strategy, people, processes and systems that EA enables. Plus BPM does not necessarily include the critical service-oriented aspect.

Beating Information Mess (Without SOA)/JISC-CETIS. Certainly beats me. Semantic web/web architecture. Linked Data – see www.data.gov.uk, for example. Very interesting stuff, but outside my – area? No. Mental capacity? Probably.

Pause for breath. Back for EA Practice Group tomorrow.

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