Why is it important for educational programs to use this type of approach? How has it helped you to understand and possibly lead an organization that might face these important decisions?
When I first saw the matrix assigned to us to study in the appendix of our text this week, my first thought was "Genius!" To people with a background in Enterprise Architecture, I'm sure this matrix which lines out the the data needed to complete an Application Rationalization process for an organization is considered to be EA 101. But for someone just getting her feet wet with EA, well, my reaction was more exuberant :) My next thought was, "I wonder if my school district does this?" I'd love to know, but I've been asking so many questions of our IT director lately, I don't want to become a pest. For that reason, I've asked him if we can sit down for a face-to-face chat soon, so I can show him what I am studying, and ask him all of my burning questions in context. But I digress...
The reason it is so important for educational programs to use this type of approach to prioritizing, selecting, and maintaining applications is that, if implemented properly, the approach removes the subjectivity from this important process of choosing applications for use organization-wide. Without this matrix, I can imagine a group of teachers, IT, and district admin sitting around the table, armed with their subjective rationale, ready to defend their stance. "Armed" and "Defend" are not concepts that should be present at a collaborative meeting of a TEAM, dedicated to making decisions for the school district. This approach provides data and information about each application, and hopefully provides a wide-lens snapshot of each application and the entire spectrum of applications, so team decisions can be made more objectively. It seems vital. Sometimes I wonder if teachers are even included in some of the decisions that are made, as at times we find ourselves looking at applications and thinking ... "How does this fit my needs or the needs of my students?" To be sure, I have ultimate respect for how difficult it is to make decisions for an organization, so I try to table my judgments, on decisions that are made, but it does make me wonder about the process and rationale being used to make them.
"Enterprises that ignore long-range planning risk dealing with escalating maintenance costs for out-of-date applications, a lack of access to information critical to decision making and regulatory compliance, and a loss of business agility in an increasingly agile world" (Gartner 2015). For a school district, the importance of going through a process with this approach is so important because our "customers" are our students. Our school district exists to serve them, and there are so many factors to consider, including financial, ease of integration with already prioritized applications and systems, pd required at time of roll-out, and what functions the application will allow and serve ... districts have to choose wisely so that students are served and can learn in the best way possible. I would hope that with what I am learning about this, I can be a valuable voice in our district when asked to contribute. In my new role as a digital resource teacher, it is already coming in handy. Our IT director recently granted me, my partner, and several content resource teachers a meeting in which he listened to our ideas regarding our district website, and how to make resources more easily accessible (with fewer clicks needed to access) for teachers. The resource teachers have worked so hard to put very organized resources together for teachers, but nobody can find them or knows that they exist. Our IT director, an ultimate professional, listened and took action immediately, creating a page just for teacher resources with all of our links, and is taking that proposal to HR for approval. It felt like teamwork with teacher input, and for that we all have much gratitude.
Gartner.com,. (2015). Retrieved 22 March 2015, from http://www.gartner.com/it/initiatives/pdf/KeyInitiativeO