Prior to this class my knowledge of enterprise architecture was incredibly minimal. I am fairly confident that I had never even heard of the term enterprise architecture (EA) before seeing it on my course list. Based on my understanding of the words enterprise and architecture, I concluded that enterprise architecture is a system that organizations use to keep technology running smoothly.
After the first week of class, I was still struggling to comprehend EA. The acronym-filled vocabulary in our textbook, An Introduction to Enterprise Architecture and additional assigned readings are abundant in business jargon and references that are somewhat challenging to transfer to education. However, I persevered--and even took a few notes--until I finally understood that EA is the practice of intentionally and strategically integrating technology into an organization's identity, function, and goals. Once I was able to grasp this, I began to wonder about how EA applies to my school district. I'm still trying to figure this out. It seems that EA is currently not being practiced in my district. I wonder who is responsible--the county office team IT or the district directors? I am curious to learn more about who is responsible for developing and maintaining EA in districts, including those without a technology director on the leadership team, and in general.
I have a lot more to figure out, but I have learned about the types of enterprises that effectively use EA and I am beginning to understand the five main EA frameworks. The document “A Comparison of Enterprise Architecture Frameworks” by Urbaczewski and Mrdalj was the most helpful helping me to acquire a general understanding of each:
Urbaczewski, L., & Mrdalj, S. (2006). A comparison of enterprise architecture frameworks. Issues in Information Systems, 7(2), 18-23.
Today, I woke up feeling under the weather and had to take a sick day. To prepare and document my absence, I need to request a substitute using AESOP, create assignments for my students in Google Drive using Slides and Docs, post assignments to Haiku, email my lesson plans to the administrative assistant using Outlook, and then log in to Common Ground to log in to PeopleSoft to formally document my absence. As you can see, my district uses many systems and applications, but many, like the ones previously mentioned, seem to be repetitive tools that do not “talk to each other”--such as AESOP and PeopleSoft. I have recently learned that this is due to weak Enterprise Architecture.
Three years ago, my district decided to merge our educational and informational technology departments with those of our county office. Since this time, there has not been a specific individual or team responsible for the management of technology specifically in my district. Fortunately, a few individuals who work with both district and the county office have supported the growth of technology for our students. However, for those of us working at the site level, these changes are often confusing.
According to Bernard, “Enterprise Architecture is a management and technology practice that is devoted to improving the performance of enterprises by enabling them to see themselves in terms of a holistic and integrated view of their strategic direction, business practices, information flows, and technology resources” (2012). The lack of this is evidenced by current challenges faced by teachers in our district:
Bernard, S. A. (2012). An introduction to enterprise architecture. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.