Itana Call Friday 9/30/2022


Practice Status Survey Results Discussion

See the Survey and respond if you haven't: Current Temp of EA in Higher Ed Survey


  1. Roll Call (East to West) Name and Institution
  2. Call for a Scribe
  3. Main Discussion
  4. Itana Org Updates
  5. Close

Survey Results Discussion - Current Temperature of EA in Higher Education

  • Status of EA Practice
      • Not surprisingly, there are a number of institutions who have no EA practice
      • People end up participating in EA via various paths
      • Project management is one example (Henry Pruitt, NYU)
      • People with broad experience across IT often asked to take EA roles (Louis King, Yale)
      • Preparation (Jim Phelps, UW)
        • Realization that architects are often engaged “too late” in the process once decisions have been made
        • There is value in backing up and thinking about things in a broader context
  • Different EA practice modalities
      • Different types of practices fairly evenly split across institutions
      • Vignettes presented from each modality
        • “Capability Model”
        • Lots of traction and support for this model across the university
        • Looking for common “threads” among traditionally siloed units in higher ed
        • Mapping work to the capability model helps identify opportunities to improve, share, etc.
        • Use architecture to help improve the operations of IT and service delivery
        • A lot of time is devoted to planning and having well-planned evolution of capabilities
        • Trying to share EA-developed knowledge and planning expertise among the broader IT organization
        • Developing architecture skills and staff retention has been a challenge
        • Attempting to set “service standards” that can be met for any IT area
        • Recently, architecture staff spent majority of time on large ERP projects and avoiding disaster in that realm
        • Now shifting gears from ad hoc into “service delivery” to campus and IT’s business partners
          • Established “functions” or capabilities that the architecture team can offer when needs arise
        • Focus on strategy and governance for different areas
          • These things don’t always need to live within EA, but they certainly can
          • Transitioning from ad hoc consulting to consulting that fits into more well defined, EA-owned and delivered services.
        • It has been helpful for UW to define what EA is and what it isn’t.
        • NYU - Digital Transformation - Henry Pruitt
        • Yale - Fostering operational excellence - Louis King
        • UW - Ad Hoc (and perhaps operational excellence?) - Jim Phelps
  • How Important is EA to senior IT leadership?
      • Various comments shared from CIO perspectives
      • General support for EA, but often there are somewhat vague or undefined expectations
        • EA concept can be abstract for CIOs (and perhaps for EA teams / staff as well)
      • Alignment, guard rails, “vetting” functions are commonly mentioned
      • Strategy and longer term planning also common
      • A number of institutions have the added challenge (or benefit?) of having new CIOs or significant IT leadership changes
      • Jeff Kennedy (U of Auckland) noted that architecture there has evolved further away from IT and more into the realm of operational and strategic planning at higher levels of the university.
        • Good and bad things about this
      • Overall, there is significant diversity when it comes to both practices and relationships with leadership
        • This adds to the challenge of “figuring out” what EA should be.
  • EA Practice Organizational Fit and Practice Maturity
      • How well EA practices are integrated into overall IT work is fairly evenly mixed
      • Self-assessed maturity level tends to be low, however
  • How are people feeling overall about EA?
      • It’s hard to measure the contributions of EA and assess success (Henry Pruitt, NYU)
      • There is some concern among those moving more into strategy and governance that ad hoc consulting (and helping others “on the ground” who really need it) will become harder (Jim Phelps, UW and someone else echoed this sentiment)
        • Fewer opportunities to connect with IT practitioners and develop a reputation.
      • EA practices often go through “resets” or periods of needing to redefine themselves, often tied to organizational or leadership changes (Louis King, Yale)
      • Some architecture teams struggle with determining their role, whether or not they add value, how to integrate with the rest of the IT organization. (Dave Goldhammer, CU Boulder)
  • What’s new and exciting, what are concerns?
    • Plenty of both - might just be the nature of EA. 🙂

Itana Business

  • New2EA launch update
    • Cohort selected
    • “Both exciting and terrifying” (Jim Phelps, UW)
    • Significant time and effort from many to make this happen
    • A lot to be learned and this will help future cohorts
  • Book Club kicking off soon
    • Thinking Fast and Slow will be the first read
  • Upcoming Cloud Strategy meeting (panel discussion) coming up
  • New program committee members - Mary and Henry - thanks for contributing!
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