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What is your name and title?
Maher Shinouda, Strategic Architect
How did your architecture practice get started?
The architecture practice started in 2013, aligned with IT strategic planning work and an IST reorganization.
What is the focus of your practice – e.g., enterprise, business, technical, solution, data architecture?
The EA work is mainly within Information Systems and Technology (IST), the central IT unit at Waterloo. The EA focus is within the work and context of IST. The scope of practice has been focusing mainly on Application, Technology, and Security architecture.
How big is your practice and where is it located in the organization?
The Enterprise Architecture function sits in the Program Management Office (PMO) in the client Services group within IST, at the University of Waterloo. The EA focus is within the work and context of IST. The Enterprise Architecture function is led by the strategic architect and it is under the management of PMO.
What is your practice model for working with related teams – e.g., federated architecture practice?
The EA interacts with all groups, teams, and SME at various levels within IST and other departments and business units across campus. EA is led by the Strategic Architect who works collaboratively with various stakeholders to develop and document enterprise architecture.
How would you describe the maturity of your architecture practice in terms of:
- See the Higher Education Enterprise Architecture Maturity Model for more about:
- Scope definition -2
- Engagement - 1
- Impact assessment - 1
- Delivery - 1, 2
- Management - 1, 2
What are major trends you see in your practice and your enterprise?
We have recently adopted a specialized EA tool, erwin EA agile, to capture and store architecture information and artifacts.
We have developed various architecture artifacts and diagrams of current and future state architecture on various projects. Some EA work started to be presented to high level ERP committees where the value is being discovered.
Currently, we are working on an application inventory as part of our IST Strategic Plan to collect basic information about all applications with which IST supports, maintains and/or interacts. At a later phase we will be capturing more detailed information about these applications and the integration and interface points they have with each other.
We are taking a pragmatic approach to grow our EA practice maturity. Starting with projects (e.g. implementation of a product) and moving towards subject areas (e.g. Identity and Access Management) where significant change is occurring, is our current approach, with a focus on applications, technology and security. Flexibility in our EA practice allow us to quickly respond to urgent needs and changes. As the EA practice matures, we will be looking for various opportunities at different levels where we can be successful.
How does your team manage its work internally and on projects?
We have been engaged in various projects within the IST unit to define and develop current and future state architecture. We have developed and documented the EA roles and responsibilities related to programs and projects and it is now published in our website.
We use Erwin EA tool to develop and store EA information and artifacts. We also use SharePoint and TeamDynamix software to store EA artifacts related to programs and projects.
What are your major challenges?
These are some of the challenges that we have been encountering:
- The practice is relatively new and demonstrating value takes some initial investment to show value. When people don’t understand or recognize the value of EA, they don’t know what to expect from EA work, which makes it challenging for us to get involved. Finding the right opportunity to get involved, being there at the right time will make a difference
- Sometimes we are seen as being decision makers, when in fact we provide information and processes for decision support
What projects have been your major focus lately?
EA is currently involved in a number of projects:
- IST Application Inventory
- Student Information System Upgrade
- Enterprise Room Management System
- Exam Management System
- Authentication & Authorization and 2FA