JISC Enterprise Architecture Practice Group Workshop – June 21st – EA Impact

Beautiful longest day of the year & travelling down to Birmingham for the latest in the EA series. 2-day event, sadly I can only make the first day which means early start & late finish, so longest day may be right.

Good turnout again & some new faces/attendees, from Manchester County Council, Cranfield Business School, University College Falmouth, the Bloomsbury group of institutions/Media Cloud project, & the LFHE SICT project, amongst others.

Session 1 – Big Picture & Discussion

Introduction from David Rose included reference to the ‘6 E’s’ – what we’re trying to achieve is Efficiency, Effectiveness & Enablement for the Enterprise, Education & External Stakeholders – fits very well with our ‘4 P’s’ approach – Problem, Project & Programme-based Pragmatic EA.

Committed a crime against EA in my presentation – referenced new CIO from the ‘business-side’ & ‘ICT function aligned with the business’ – when of course there are no sides, & must think of another way to describe ‘aligning the business with ICT’ when the business is ICT, & ICT is the business. Reemphasised, however, the importance of the conversation, & the impact of culture & context on the conversations it is possible to have. Also here ‘referenced Kamala Velayutham from JISC-CETIS’s blog where she discusses EA with Mark Blowers of Ovum-Butler Group, excellent & succinct articulation of a practical approach, couldn’t have put it better myself, well worth a look.

Paul Belli – Imperial College – thinking of doing some EA modelling, looking at BizzDesign Architect but not happy with the costs. Time to investigate deals &/or the future of Archi.

Patrick O’Reilly/Bolton – struggling with Governance, not just ICT but more generally. Something that the LFHE SICT project should address – but interesting that it is still seen as such a problem; if it is so difficult to introduce effective Governance, is there really a will to do EA/Strategic ICT? & are there not perhaps bigger problems than lack of a Governance framework?

Session 2 – Help Control Costs with EA

A number of brief presentations from institutions doing work in this area.

Simon Waddington/King’s College – Cost Savings in Research through EA. Mostly looking at data reuse.

Sally Gannon/LJMU. CRM Case Management = EA saving money through system reuse; Blackboard capability as against Campus Solutions, integration of Oracle CRM & Campus Solutions via Oracle CDH = EA solving problems through articulating systems capability/complexity.

Sam Rowley/Staffordshire University – External Examiner Appointment. Mapping & rationalisation of the appointment process/implementation of a common system to replace duplication.

Impact of modelling – hits them right between the eyes! Complexity commonality & duplication immediately apparent.

Nathalie Czechowksi/Coventry: Will EA reduce costs? EA as contributor to benefits realisation? EA to assess the impact of change. Question: how can we assess the value of using an EA approach, as against not? Discussion: stress on staff because of lack of documentation – sounds like case for management, not EA.

Patrick O’Reilly, Bolton. EA to support collaborative provision.

EA in a slightly enlarged tweet: as an aside, interesting to note the definition’s of EA in the LinkedIn Enterprise Architecture Network EA in 160 character’s challenge, analysis of which can be found at Pragmatic EA.

Session 3: Management & Governance.

Andrea Addison – introduction to the JISC LFHE Strategic ICT Project. For my sins(?) I’m on the advisory group for this, but useful for it to be presented to the EAPG. Around levels of maturity in strategic use of ICT, & understanding of how to progress between levels, to become part of LFHE leadership training for senior managers. Findings so far – increase in the CIO role, but not simply number-crunching – there are people not formally designated as CIO who are carrying out that role; key responsibility is promoting the effective use of ICT in support of the business. Communication is key: note the increasing incidence of the account or relationship manager role within the ICT function; EA is a key tool within this. Interesting to note that of 20 HEIs interviewed, about 25% mentioned EA.

What is the compelling argument for EA in strategic ICT? Weill & Ross – need to make architecture decisions: which systems support which processes for which people – without this have no framework for decision making. Interesting points from Graham Openshaw/Manchester City Council, investigating EA as a possible approach to rationalising their ICT estate.

Interesting point to consider – what’s the difference between Governance & management? – try this: Governance is about making the right decisions; management is about managing the implications of those decisions.

Idong Usoru/University of the West of Scotland – Future Proof Institutions. Discussion largely around positioning of EA, how EA can produce value, what the KPIs & performance measures for EA might be.

In conclusion: as the day drew to a close, seemed to me we were losing sight of the service dimension which defines what EA is for ie we are trying to produce excellent services for our customers & stakeholders; technology realises services to support applications; applications realise services to support business processes; business processes realise services for customers. To realise these services in the most efficient & effective way & deliver the best quality to our customers & stakeholders, both now & in the future, we need to understand the relationships between technology, applications, processes & people. To move to new models of service delivery, shared services etc we need to understand these relationships. & EA is a tool that enables you to model & understand these relationships – which is why you would use it. We need to talk about services, not systems – a University needs an enrolment service, or a payroll service, this doesn’t mean it necessarily needs an enrolment system or a payroll system – the latter tends to presuppose that the University would be running these systems, which doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, & may well not be in the future, if not sooner.


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