Jisc case studies wiki Case studies / EA - University of Bristol
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EA - University of Bristol

Funded by the: JISC Flexible Service Delivery programme.

Lead Institution: University of Bristol.

Key Words: Enterprise Architecture (EA).

Our Enterprise Architecture (EA) journey

a story of impact and value


Background and institutional context


Institution: University of Bristol


The University of Bristol has undertaken an ambitious programme of work to redevelop its administrative organisation and streamline the associated support processes—Support Process Review (SPR). 


Along with the business reorganisation, a large systems programme is underway within SPR to provide support for the new institution-wide processes. However, the governance, planning and approach to developing new systems has historically focused on process and systems change within a project scope. This approach has encouraged piecemeal systems development which has hindered the opportunity to implement the most appropriate data, systems and technology architectures, and led to a sub-optimal systems landscape, and has hindered our ability to prepare for new service delivery options (out-hosted, Cloud, outsourced, etc.).


The involvement in the JISC Flexible Service Delivery (FSD) programme was seen as an opportunity to learn about Enterprise Architecture (EA) techniques, based upon the open standard ‘The Open Group Architectre Framework (TOGAF)’, and to assess the relevance of such techniques to help the University understand how people, processes and technology relate together, and EA’s potential to provide a framework in which informed decisions about a range of enabling technologies and approaches can be achieved, in a move towards a FSD environment. 


Objective/Overall vision for EA practice


To date

Looking ahead

(next 12 months post June 2011)

Our original objective was to learn the theory of EA and about its practical application within the sector, in an environment where we could learn together with our HE colleagues in order to achieve results quickly.


Having begun to see the benefits of our EA practice in resolving specific issues, our objective for the next 12 months will be to more fully embed EA within our institutional IT governance processes, and continue to demonstrate the benefits of this new approach. 


Overall vision for EA practice


To date

Looking ahead

(next 12 months post June 2011)

The initial vision for EA was to: 


  1. Work with sector colleagues and learn about the potential benefits from the adoption of EA practice
  2. Confirm that EA could meet the University’s need for a more efficient and effective systems landscape. One that would also be fully prepared to take advantage of new FSD options
  3. Achieve recognition amongst senior management of the need to adopt EA practice across the institution
  4. Establish EA practice within the University

The future vision for EA is to:


  1. More fully embed EA practice within the University’s IT governance processes
  2. Continue to demonstrate the benefits of EA practice within the institution
  3. Continue to work with sector colleagues to develop best practice in EA




Getting value from JISC resources


To date

Looking ahead

(next 12 months post June 2011)

The main value gained from JISC resources has been:


  1. Gaining an understanding of the potential value of EA practice for the University
  2. Working with sector colleagues to contextualise EA within HE

JISC resource requirements:


  1. Facilitation and documentation of the continued sharing of emergent best practice in EA


Progress and achievements


  1. Completed an evaluation of the potential benefit of establishing EA practice at the University
  2. Achieved senior management recognition of the need for EA practice
  3. Recruited an Enterprise Architect and met initial EA practice objectives:
    1. Enterprise Architecture discovery
    2. Using EA to assist with specific projects
    3. Use EA to assist with multiple overlapping projects


Business benefits (impact) and opportunities (3xE's)


EA practice has been used to:

  1. Develop a shared understanding of the objectives to be achieved within the Membership Management project
  2. Take a more holistic view of the needs for ePortfolio tools
  3. Investigate possible IT governance requirements to support systems projects relating to teaching and research
  4. Develop a strategy for mobile services
  5. Unpick the dependencies between multiple projects—Online course and module approval, timetabling and online module registration


Key learning points: do's and don'ts, and advice to those who follow


  1. Do get involved in the JISC programme and benefit from the shared experience
  2. Don’t expect to be able to demonstrate tangible benefits quickly or easily