Thursday, 29 May 2008

So what is Enterprise Architecture?

Spent the day in London at UCISA meetings – began with a Communication Group, mainly discussing the UCISA web site and how we might target it more to our intended audience. A well as add some additional functionality – RSS feeds, blogs, wikis etc.

Then the UCISA Executive proper. Started with a presentation from the Open Group about Enterprise Architecture and something called TOGAF. JISC are funding a number of pilot projects to investigate an enterprise architecture approach to service oriented development at Universities. I must admit I was somewhat lost as to the value of this, and will need to sit down with someone and have it explained to me, and what benefits it might bring us, or even if we’re doing it already!

We also discussed a couple of projects we hope to undertake – one to produce a guide for calculating the costs of breaks in IT service to better understand how we should be approaching Business Continuity spending, and another to produce toolkit for institutions on student email outsourcing. We all agreed that this needed to be done sooner rather than later, as we are all beginning to look at it.

Final meeting of the day was the Annual Conference Organising Committee – lots of suggestions for speakers, social events etc. We’re also keen to reduce the carbon footprint of the conference, so looking at not giving free pads of paper to everyone, making most of the programme available on line, and an alternative to the bag that everyone gets. Apparently one conference recently gave everyone large paper bags, but they made so much noise, no-one could hear the conference sessions!

After an early morning train and 3 consecutive meetings in the same room, we finished too late for the 1730 train back, so I’m eating a Cornish pasty on the later train, and will miss my clog dancing session tonight!


Ajay said...

We used TOGAF at the RSPB. It is an excellent framework, methodology and toolkit for developing, implementing and maintaining IT and IS architectures - you dont' have to go as far as an enterprise architecture (which we didn't). As with Prince for project management you don't neccessarily use the whole thing lock, stock and barrel - you can pick and choose or develop your own 'light' version. It helps you tackle thorny issues like making sure your systems and technology architecture is aligned with the business objectives of the organisation and making sure that all your projects are also conforming to your technical and systems architectures, and if they're not, gives you a tool for making sensible decisions about why a particular project might not be fully conforment. TOGAF also includes very good tools for helping to discuss and explore project deliverables and future technical solutions and the business benefits they may have using 'business scenarios' - we used this technique to great effect when we were developoing on-line membership services at the RSPB. TOGAF can also work well with agile development methods like DSDM. The downside, as with most methodologies, is that if over enthusiastically, or too bureaucratically implemented it can send customers, and some IT staff, running screaming to the hills!

Graham Hill said...

Sorry you were late for your train and missed clog dancing. I missed naked shakespeare so every cloud has a silver lining!