Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architecture and your project

Every project for the University's administrative IT systems should consider how it will fit into the University's overall IT strategy, and whether existing architecture building blocks (such as APIs, process maps, and the data warehouse) can help the project.

The best time to engage the EA service is at the earliest stages of your project. We can advise on how to best make use of our services. We can also provide information about building blocks and standards that may simplify the work of your project.

The EA role in a project

The role of Enterprise Architecture in a project is to:

  • help the project team to locate their work within the big picture of the University's administrative IT systems
  • encourage the reuse of existing building blocks
  • incorporate new building blocks that the project creates for potential re-use by future projects

The EA role also provides a route for escalating architecture-related issues, for example if a project team runs into problems interfacing with another system.

Diagram showing how Enterprise Architecture interacts with projects

Enterprise Architecture is not involved in the detailed design of individual systems.

Which projects can EA help?

Enterprise Architecture is most relevant for projects that involve multiple IT systems or business units, or which use data from multiple systems.

EA can help by providing or analysing information about:

  • how the existing systems interact
  • how the project can improve these interactions
  • how the data model fits into the University's overall data model
  • whether existing interfaces can be adapted to support the needs of the project

Projects which involve the following must always engage with us:

  • developing new interfaces or APIs
  • implementing new middleware
  • using non-standard approaches to authentication or authorisation
  • procuring central administrative software

Conversely, some isolated or routine projects will have little interaction with the overall architecture, and will not need any input from EA.

When to engage EA

Ideally, a project should engage EA as early as possible, preferably when writing the project proposal or business case. We can advise on how the proposed project will fit into the University's overall architecture, and suggest ways that EA can help.

During the project itself, the main role of EA is:

  • in the high-level analysis and design
  • advising on how the design of the new or changed system will integrate with other IT systems
  • helping with process modelling and data modelling

EA is not involved with the detailed implementation of a project, assuming the implementation follows the previously agreed design. The EA role can act as a point of escalation in the event of unforeseen problems.

Applications Directorate

For projects managed by the ISG Applications Directorate, more detailed guidance is available on the wiki.

Project Methodology and Enterprise Architecture

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