Applying Enterprise Architecture webinar

We found last week’s JISC Infonet webinar Applying Enterprise Architecture interesting and informative. It showcased the experience of two universities, Staffordshire University and the University of Bolton. For those who missed it, here’s a link to the recording:

Their experiences shared confirmed our feeling that it can be a real challenge finding a common language for effective communication between IT, Information Management and people working in the business units.

Applying Enterprise Architecture involves taking a more holistic approach to connecting people, processes and technology than earlier business re-engineering models might have done. It can usefully “wrap around” other disciplines and methodologies.

One participant asked how it relates to Action Research (a form of self-reflective enquiry undertaken by a community of practice to improve the way issues are addressed and problems solved, involving active participation in organizational change). The answer suggested that Action Research could almost be considered a lightweight version of Enterprise Architecture.

There was some discussion about which tools people found useful. Staffordshire found the CETIS Archimate modelling tool preferable to Visio, liking the way its flexibility enabled them to tailor presentations to different audiences, to convey messages in a professional way that boosted credibility. Someone else found the Ketso Creativity Kit was good for generating ideas, identifying problems and priorities Another participant used the Moodle Virtual Learning Environment to bring 40 individuals together.

Whilst diagrams have a role in cutting across the silos that can develop, forming barriers between IT, Information Management and the business, we are all keen to bring about actual change rather than just keep mapping things.

Sadly, there are no magic answers. It was acknowledged that raising awareness – and the professionalization of process review – is a long game!

Thanks to Andy Stewart and everyone else involved for a stimulating session.