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Showing posts from February, 2014

Upgrades & integrating vendor software

The last month we seem to have spent a lot of time dealing with projects to upgrade various  systems.  We run a large number of such systems, covering everything from virtual learning environments and wikis to student record systems and timetabling, and also encompassing underlying middleware software.  I say "vendor systems" but some of these are open-source projects maintained by a global community.  Others are traditional vendors, ranging from large multi-national corporations to niche vendors of HE products.

We have encountered problems with a number of systems, from various sources.    Some of these have been bugs in the third-party software.  I won't name the systems, nor even say what functions they perform, as I don't want to bring any particular vendor into disrepute.  Other issues have turned out to be caused by mistakes in our own systems.  In one failed upgrade, we kept the existing system running on one site while we upgraded the system on the backup si…

Enterprise Architecture at York

Friday last week was a bit different from the usual, as I went down to York to sit on an interview panel.  York are recruiting a full-time Enterprise Architect (similar to the post that Nikki Rogers holds at Bristol) with responsibility for shaping the whole contribution of IT to the university's business and my role was to provide an external point of view.  I was very interested to learn more about their plans and to compare the architecture situation at York with our own experience.

Each of the candidates had to start their day with a ten-minute presentation about how they would persuade senior managers of the benefits of enterprise architecture.  These presentations were interesting in themselves and I may borrow one or two of the ideas put forward. 

Obviously I can't say much about the interviews themselves, but I will say that this is hard role to fill. The ideal candidate would have a breadth of IT experience, ability to engage confidently with senior managers, excellen…