Interview with Mark Blowers-Ovum Butler’s Group

’Whichever route you choose, remember that EA is a path, not a destination. EA has no value unless it delivers real business value as quickly as possible. One of the most important goals of any EA is to bring the business sides & the technology side together so that both are working effectively towards the same goals”. (http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearningcapital/enterprisearchitectures/liverpool.aspx ).

We interviewed Mark Blowers from OVUM Butler’s group to capture his views on Enterprise Architecture.

About EA:

EA has several definitions and many have their own interpretations. How do you view EA from an educational institution perspective?

An approach which can help educational institutions understand the current situation and provide agreement and visibility on the way forward. Educational organisations are increasingly finding funding coming under pressure which leads for the need to look for efficiencies, which is difficult if you don’t have the visibility and understanding of where you are now and can not compare alternative solutions.

’EA is interesting in theory and hard in practice ‘’ what’s your opinion regarding this statement? Can you please suggest some best practices that are applicable for educational institutions?

Historically many organisations have not gone about EA in a pragmatic way focussing on the initiative rather than the deliverables for the different stakeholders. would suggest that EA is an iterative process with frequent delivery of useful viewpoints.

Effective EA:

Measure and communicate success

Leadership role in strategy and service delivery

One architecture multiple views

Iterative creation of enterprise architecture

Development of a framework

Supported by use of intelligent tool

Key considerations:

Senior management support

Focus on speed of delivery

No need to model the entire enterprise

Be aware of people aspects

Allow solutions without architecture input

Drivers for EA

What are the main operational, tactical and strategic adoption drivers for EA?

Main drivers include:

Better strategy execution

Improved decision making

Ability to manage change effectively

Faster solution delivery

Evolve simpler environment

Do you see a shift in EA projects becoming more business focussed rather than IT focussed?

Not sure a shift. Successful EA focussed on both enterprise and IT – deliverables (viewpoints) are applicable to both. Although many organisations start from an IT perspective as that is easier and evolve to include the enterprise.

EA projects are strategic in nature rather than to fulfil short term needs. Do you agree to this statement? Have you come across any business that has implemented EA to fulfil short term goals?

No. EA is strategic in nature but this does not preclude it from being used for tactical projects. Number of instances where EA used to identify cost efficiencies.

EA adoption

How do you see the relevance of EA for educational institutions? Do you see a need there?

Most educational institutions (especially higher education) are large enterprises with the same issues as businesses, therefore EA very applicable. Would envisage that there are the same requirements.

Can you provide an example on how an educational institution has benefited from EA?

Have public sector examples but not come across an educational example.

How do you see EA adoption in forthcoming years to come? – Main challenges and drivers?

Recent Ovum survey indicated that ¾ of organisations have adopted EA. Expectation is that adoption will continue and that EA will become an accepted, and more important, a relevant approach within most organisations.

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