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Explaining my job to my mother

My mother, who turned 95 years old this month, has never used a computer.  She doesn't even have a mobile phone, let alone a smartphone.  She has only the vaguest idea of what the internet is.  So when she asked me what I do at work, I had to simplify things a bit.

I'd be interested to hear other suggestions for how to explain Enterprise Architecture to someone who doesn't know anything about computers.  Arguably, this is good practice, because in our role we have to convey complicated ideas to people who vary considerably in their knowledge of IT.  Some are IT specialists, while others are specialists in their own areas, and we need to explain our work in language that makes sense to them.

I told Mum that my job is to make all the University computers work together. As an example, I explained that one computer stores information about which courses the students have chosen, and another one handles stores the marks the students score in their coursework and exams.  The fir…

Why the UCISA Capability Model is useful

What do Universities do?

This may seem a strange question to ask and the answer may seem obvious.  Universities educate students and undertake research.  And perhaps they work with industrial partners and create spin-off companies of their worn.  And they may work with local communities, and affiliation bodies for certain degress, and they definitely report on their activities to government bodies such as HEFCE.  They provide student services and support.  The longeryou think about it, the more things you can think of that a University does.

In business, the things that an organisation does are called "capabilities", which is a slightly strange term.  I think it is linked to the HR idea of a combination of the CAPacity and ABILITY to do a task.  Whatever the name, it is a useful concept.  A capability is more basic than a process: a University may change the way it educates students but as long as it remains a University it will educate them one way or another.

A capability …