Skip to main content

EA at the University of Lincoln

Last week, Allister Homes from the University of Lincoln gave a presentation to the UCISA EA group about how Lincoln have set up their Enterprise Architecture practice and where they are now in using Enterprise Architecture. The presentation is online and you can see it here:

Enterprise Architecture at Lincoln

Do take a look. 

I found Allister's talk both interesting and reassuring.  Lincoln's EA practice is 12-18 months older than ours, and as a result it is a bit more embedded into university culture and processes than us, as one might expect. But we're on a similar path and not too far behind.  EA seems to be delivering good results at Lincoln, which bodes well for us.

Both practices are based in our IT departments and are reaching out to the business areas.  We are working with similar principles (because we both used the same set of TOGAF principles as our starting point).  Lincoln have an established design authority which reviews all projects; we have put in place processes that do the same and are planning to create a formal design authority.  Lincoln have a set of architecture requirements that all procurements and developments must adhere to; we have a similar set of standard procurement questions, which we are about to review and formalise further.

Allister has made good use of the BizzDesign modelling tool.  We are just in the process of finalising our choice of modelling tool.  We're a bit behind in developing EA models but people are seeing the benefits of those we have produced.  Getting the tool and repository in place will accelerate us down this part of the EA path.

The occasional meetings and presentations run by the UCISA EA community are a really useful way of sharing experience and information among UK universities.  I recommend joining the mailing list if you are at all interested.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Presentation: Putting IT all together

This is a presentation I gave to an audience of University staff: 

In this seminar, I invite you to consider what the University’s online services would be like, if we worked together to design them from the perspective of the student or member of staff who will use them, instead of designing them around the organisational units that provide them. I’ll start with how the services might appear to that student or member of staff, then work back from there to show what this implies for how we work, how we manage our data, and how we integrate our IT systems. It might even lead to changes in our organisational structure.

Our online services make a vital and valued contribution to the work of our students and staff. I argue that with better integration, more consistent user interfaces, and shared data, this contribution could be significantly enhanced.

This practice is called “Enterprise Architecture”. I’ll describe how it consults multiple organisational units and defines a framework …

Service Excellence, Digital Transformation and Enterprise Architecture

Our University Secretary has sponsored a major review of the University’s administrative processes, coining the banner “Service Excellence”.  The aim is to look at the services we provide to staff and students with a fresh eye, making them more effective, more efficient, and focussed on the user rather than administrative convenience.

Our CIO is sponsoring a similar programme called “Digital Transformation”. This will replace old paper-based processes, starting with the question of what would processes look like if we designed them afresh for the modern connected world.  The aim is to make processes that are more focussed on the user and hence more effective and efficient.

Both of these ambitious programmes will need an effective enterprise architecture, if they are to succeed.  Digital Transformation is intrinsically about using opportunities provided by new technology to improve services and, as such, it requires effective technology services to make data available when needed, to pro…

Not so simple...

A common approach to explaining the benefits of Enterprise Architecture is to draw two diagrams: one that shows a complicated mess of interconnections, and one that shows a nicely layered set of blocks. Something like this one, which came from some consultants:


I've never felt entirely happy with this approach.  Yes, we do want to remove as much of the needless complexity and ad-hoc design that litters the existing architecture.  Yes, we do want to simplify the architecture and make it more consistent and intelligible.  But the simplicity of the block diagram shown here is unobtainable in the vast majority of real enterprises.  We have a mixture of in-house development and different third-party systems, some hosted in-house, some on cloud infrastructure and some accessed as software-as-a-service.  For all the talk of standards, vendors use different authentication systems, different integration systems, and different user interfaces.

So the simple block diagram is, basically, a l…