Enterprise Architecture in Higher Education – Yes!

by | January 15, 2012

Adrian Grigoriu wrote an article in eBizq titled Enterprise Architecture in Higher Education in Nov 2011 – http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/ea_matters/2011/11/enterprise-architecture-and-higher-education.php.  I have been meaning to write a supportive post to Adrian and finally have time.  In a nutshell, I agree and Adrian’s makes 3 excellent points for why Enterprise Architecture should be taught.  Adrian’s short article is worth the read and there is an extensive discussion on LinkedIn about this topic here.

What EA could bring to the MBA:

1. EA may offer generic models or typical architectures for the enterprise. EA comes with the Capability map concept which unfortunately is not standardised or mature enough to be employed yet.

2. May provide the framework that links and integrates all the tiers of the Enterprise together: business process, technology and organization. That is a “true” EA framework. Currently there are a few meta-models that are an expression of the framework rather than the framework itself.

3. Last but not least, EA would provide the method of implementing the target enterprise state in alignment to strategy. Existing EA methods propose various processes to do exactly that.

Over the past month, I had the opportunity to build a new one week module on Enterprise Architecture for a 13 week Technology Management course.  The course is targeted at business management students and I ran into exactly what Adrian pointed out:

The EA concept should be taught in any business study. Unfortunately the body of knowledge is too fragmented and incomplete right now to arm the student with a method that delivers results.

I reached out to my Enterprise Architect community on Twitter.   My request for guidance started a great Twitter conversation with Nick Malik, Richard Veryard, Martin Howitt and Aleks Buterman about the approach to constructing the module and the elements that should be included.  Many thanks to these esteemed Enterprise Architects.  I continue to marvel that I am able to connect with all of you with the power of technology and Twitter in particular.

Here are a few choice tweets:

@richardveryard : @leodesousa @nickmalik Do you want your students to passively consume #entarch services or to collaborate effectively with #entarch experts?

@richardveryard : @nickmalik ‘s solution to @leodesousa ‘s requirement assumes the goal is to appreciate the difference between #entarch and its absence.

@nickmalik : @richardveryard @leodesousa Yes, as foundation. Build understanding as first step to empower collaboration between biz and #entarch

@aleksb6 : @leodesousa @richardveryard @nickmalik I’m trying to cope with the idea that #value of a #planned approach needs to be explained. #entarch

@richardveryard :  @leodesousa @nickmalik my idea of a learning objective is that the students learn to do something, not that they are persuaded of something.

@nickmalik : @richardveryard @leodesousa if the course is about #entarch – teach how to architect – but biz course should teach how to use, not make

So what did I decide to do?  I took a blended approach and focused on the guidance from Nick Malik to position the material so that it was geared to educate the “customers” of Enterprise Architecture.

I created two main sections: 1) What is Enterprise Architecture? and 2) Why use Enterprise Architecture?

Some of the components I presented were:

  • a history of EA – to provide context and to show that Enterprise Architecture is not an IT practice
  • a description of EA Frameworks – to provide the overview of the components of an enterprise architecture – business, applications, information and technology
  •  the purpose of an Enterprise Architecture practice
  • EA is a management process that supports organizational decision making by providing a strategic, holistic approach
  • EA is a method of documenting all parts of the organization in their current state, in their transitional state and their envisioned future state
  • the roles of an Enterprise Architect – guidance, consulting, approval, architecture development, partnership development and most of all communication
  • the value of adopting Enterprise Architecture practices – reduced complexity, improved alignment of investments with the organization’s strategy and decision making information
  • introduction of Enterprise Architecture Principles
  • planning the transition from current state to interim state to future state using the “architecture roadmap” model analogy
  • The material is now with our Instructional Design Consultants who provide quality control and editing.  I am looking forward to see how my first cut turns out.


    4 thoughts on “Enterprise Architecture in Higher Education – Yes!

      1. Leo de Sousa Post author

        Lisbeth, thank you for the link to the document. I will find time to read it and may have some questions for you. Hope that is ok. All the best, Leo

    1. Anja T

      I am interested in your course. Could you send me a copy or let me know where I may have access to it? I am researching the possibility to apply enterprise architecture to higher educational institutions.

      Greetings from Germany,


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