Skip to main content

EDUCAUSE 2012: day one

I'm at the EDUCAUSE conference in Denver, learning about how other universities are using their IT.  This conference is a broad church, covering everything from corporate systems to learning technologies, with sessions on leadership and user engagement as well.  It's a useful forum to informally assess how well IT at the University of Edinburgh compares to other institutions around the globe (particularly in North America).  On the whole, we seem to be pretty good.

The sessions on the first day were a bit of a mixed bag.  Clay Shirky gave a good opening talk about the power of open data in a connected world - the sort of thing he covered in his TED talk but covering more material.  The main point I took from his talk was that you can't judge what value people will put on your data before you make it available, because you don't know who will be interested in it for what reasons.

The best talk was about change management at the University of Kansas.  Which sounds a bit dull from the summary but was really helpful in showing how to engage users in big projects so that their needs are addressed and they are involved in making the projects work.  It's the sort of thing that I've learnt in theory on leadership courses and it was good to see it in practice.

I was disappointed by a session entitled "Making the case for Open Source".   What I was looking for was suggestions on how to judge the impact of adopting various open source solutions, such as the effort needed to engage with the community and feed back local changes and developments.  Most of the session was actually repeated rather old (and flawed) arguments about the advantages of open source; hardly the up to date experience that EDUCAUSE should be presenting.

The last session of the day was so bad that I won't comment any further.

Of course, part of the benefit of conferences is all the side conversations and chance meetings over lunch and after the formal sessions.  It's interesting to hear what choices other people are making regarding the choice of tools, cloud-based solutions, innovative learning technologies, managing operating costs, and so forth.  It all gives ideas and context for the decisions we have to make back home.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A new EA Repository

One of my goals since starting this job two years ago has always been to create a repository for architecture documents.  The idea is to have a central store where people can find information about the University's applications, data sources, business processes, and other architectural information.  This store will make it easier for us to explain our plans, to show the current state of the University's information systems, and to explain what Enterprise Architecture is all about.

It's taken a long time to reach this goal, mainly because we're often had more pressing and immediate work to be done.  The creation of a repository is one of those tasks that is very important but never quite urgent.  So I'm now very happy to say that we are in the process of deploying a repository and modelling tool.


This is the culmination of a careful process to select the most appropriate tool for our needs.  We began by organising several workshops to gather requirements from a rang…

A brief summary of our major initiatives

I notice that in 2016 I wrote 34 posts on this blog.  This is only my fifth post in 2017 and we're already three-quarters of the way through the year.  Either I've suddenly got lazier, or else I've had less time to spend writing here.  As I'm not inclined to think of myself as especially lazy, I'm plumping for the latter explanation.

There really is a lot going on.  The University has several major initiatives under way, many of which need input from the Enterprise Architecture section.

The Service Excellence programme is overhauling (the buzzword is "transforming") our administrative processes for HR, Finance, and Student Administration.  Linked to this is a programme to procure an integrated ERP system to replace the adminstrative IT systems. 

Enabling Digital Transformation is a programme to put the middleware and architecture in place so that we can make our processes "digital first".  We're implementing an API framework, a notification…

Business Model Canvas

A Business Model Canvas is a tool for mapping the core functions and capabilities of an organisation.  Compared to the Core Diagrams that I described in an earlier post, the business model canvas attempts to present more aspects of the business, starting with the value proposition – a statement of what the organisation offers to its users (in the business world, to its customers).  It shows the activities and resources, as Core Diagrams do, but also shows user relationships & channels, and also benefits and costs.  I’m not aware of any universities that have used this tool but you can find examples from elsewhere on the web.

We are considering business model canvases as a tool for mapping the strategic capabilities of units at the University of Edinburgh.  Phil Taylor, our EA contractor, sketched an outline of what a business model canvas might begin to look like for HR:
This is only intended to be suggestive: the real canvas would need to result from in-depth discussions about th…