Enterprise Architecture

Capability Modelling

We can use business capabilities from the global Higher Education Reference Model as a foundation for a range of business analysis techniques. This approach is especially useful for larger transformation initiatives.

What is capability modelling?

Capability modelling is a technique that looks at what an organisation needs to be able to do to achieve a goal.  For example, to fulfill its teaching role, a University needs to be able to design a curriculum, recruit and enrol students, teach courses, assess exams, and confer degrees, as well as handling student administration and providing services to support student wellbeing.

Learning & Teaching Business Capabilities from the Higher Education Reference Model

Example benefits

A capability model can provide a firm foundation for further analysis, by being independent of how the University actually does  these things or which organisational units are responsible for them.

For example, one use may be to analyse which parts of the University currently provide each capability, and to flag areas where responsibility is unclear.

Another use may assess the University's strengths and weaknesses and to use the capability model to present this information.  In this example, the model is primarily used to aid communication and give the participants of the exercise a common view of the organisation.

A third use could be to identify those capabilities which are most closely linked to student satisfaction.

Other examples can link business capabilities to IT.  The capability model could be used to map the strengths and weaknesses of different vendors' student recruitment systems, for example.   Or it could be used to structure an IT service catalogue.

A short introduction

The following short video gives a short introduction to capability modelling and its benefits.

The Higher Education Reference Model

The Higher Education Reference Model (HERM) provides a common set of business capabilities for the higher education sector.  It was originally developed by CAUDIT in Australia and has been adopted across several countries, including by UCISA in the UK.

This model has been used to good effect in other universities in a number of ways.  The linked page gives an overview of the model, including a presentation and more information.  

University staff may access the HERM from the Digital Strategy SharePoint site.

Background information about the Higher Education Reference Model from UCISA

The Higher Education Reference Model (UoE SharePoint)