For the Coeducate project the work we are undertaking around curriculum development cuts across many of the structures, systems and the processes across the university. This complex picture is ripe for a systematic approach to help us understand how it currently operates and how proposed changes can be managed to ensure their impact is understood and the different stakeholders can take ownership of them.
Why Archimate? Archimate is an open standard modelling language for enterprise architecture. It encourages modellers to think in three dimensions, the business processes, applications that support these processes & the underlying technology that supports them (see diagram below for important concepts). Most importantly, it provides a way by which different stakeholders can communicate across organisational boundaries and think through the consequences of proposed decisions and the impact of changes.
Components of Archimate langauge
There are several tools for using the Archimate language. The most simple of which is to use templates in drawing products such as OmniGraffle (for Mac) or Viseo (for PC) which is OK, but offers nothing by way of automation or supporting the logic applied by the modeller. BiZZDesign Architect is a powerful commercial option that is built on the Archimate language with sophisticated options that allow interrogation, but at several thousand pounds per seat, per year it is seen as an expensive option for HEI.
So why is Archi significant? It is an open source tool funded by Jisc based on the Archimate lanaguage that can achieves enough of the potential of a tool like BizzDesign Architect to make it a good choice for relatively small enterprises, like the University of Bolton to develop their modelling capacity without a significant software outlay.
Currently, most of our effort in modelling is supported through Jisc funded projects, but this is not a sustainable approach. To become embedded, a wider group representing the different parts of the University need to support this approach. By lowering the barriers to entry both financially and in terms of the ease of use of the modelling tool, could be a significant factor in helping us to achieve this.