Reflections before the Enterprise Architecture Conference Europe 2016



Ian Ellery
Head of IT Architecture
Canterbury Christ Church University







I am the lucky recipient of a UCISA bursary  to attend the Enterprise Architecture Conference Europe 2016 run by IRM UK. In the week before the conference, I reflect here on my reasons for wanting to attend, what I am hoping to get out of it and how I hope to use the information.

I have worked at Canterbury Christ Church University for nearly 10 years and have recently become Head of IT Architecture. However, I am not an enterprise architect by background or training I am a senior IT manager and strategist. The potential power of enterprise or IT architecture was introduced to the University by the new IT director and my challenge is to deliver for her a light-touch architectural framework. This will allow the IT department to create a blueprint for the future, and allow the University to manage the significant levels of application change currently planned.

But unlike many universities, we cannot afford to recruit a team of architects. It’s just me, a software/ solutions architect, three business analysts and some project managers. And all too often, architecture feels theoretic and more concerned with tools and frameworks than pragmatic delivery. I was looking for an opportunity to learn how enterprise architecture and IT architecture delivers in real life. A few months ago we worked with Sally Bean, now a consultant and formally an enterprise architect, who consults on building and maintaining high performance architecture teams. She regularly speaks at this conference as does Chris Potts (author of “FruITion” ), and John Zachman, creator of the Zachman Framework  .

By attending I hope to gain insights into the practical application of enterprise architecture, into an organisation which doesn’t realise it needs it. I’m also interested in how hard-nosed commercial organisations use EA to improve their business.  So I am looking forward to talks with titles such as “What Can You Achieve with a New Architecture Team?”   and “Outcome Driven Architecture” . The conference is also co-located with a business process management conference, with attendees of both conferences allowed to drop into sessions from the other. This is also interesting, as in common with many universities, Christ Church has processes which have built up and grown over the years and are no longer necessarily suitable for a 21st century digital university.

As well as writing a daily blog for the UCISA website, I will be posting the occasional Tweet as @e11ery, conference hashtag #EACBPM. I will also attempt to collate my thoughts and experiences, both from the past six to twelve months as well as the conference into a beginner’s guide to creating and using enterprise architecture in higher education environment: without actually employing any trained architects.


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