Archive for the ‘business architecture’ Category

Every university administrator understands the importance of setting goals for your school and developing a plan to achieve those goals.  Most accreditation standards require developing a strategic plan that provides a roadmap for mission achievement and that establishes the foundation for continuous improvement with an overarching goal of the plan to serve as an effective guide for decisions and practice.

Over the past 15 years I have been directly involved in strategic planning as a professor, department head, associate dean and dean.   In addition, I have been involved in developing strategic plans at the department, college and university level.

University-level and college-level strategic plans are often grand productions necessarily involving hundreds of stakeholders (faculty, staff, alumni, strategic partners, students, donors, administration).    These strategic plans will often take 12 months or more to complete.    Yet, in many cases these strategic plans focus more on planning and much less on strategy.

If your university, college or department is truly looking to achieve a bold vision it is imperative to develop a sound strategy and corresponding strategic plan.   If you are willing to get outside of your comfort zone of conforming your strategic planning to traditional academic norms, I highly recommend that you read the following book:   Scaling Up:  How a Few Companies Make It … and Why the Rest Don’t by Verne Harnish, Gazelles Inc., Asburn, VA (2014).  

In this book you will find some straight forward thinking on how to compete and grow in a competitive market.  If you are unwilling to examine your university through the lens of business, this book is not for you.   However, if you are willing to examine the business principles in this book and adapt them to your school’s situation, you will find this a very helpful book.

A great place to begin is the one-page strategic plan.   I recommend that you go the the “Social Sector Growth Tools” page at the book’s website.  Here you will find free strategic resources, including the One Page Strategic Plan, adapted for the non-profit sector.

In one page you will be asked to answer difficult questions about your core customers, the ‘product’ that you are selling them, your brand promises and your kept promise indicators (KPI’s).   Only after answering these questions will you have a foundation necessary to build a strategic plan that enables a bold vision.    Do you have the courage?

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe


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What does a Graduate Director of Enrollment Management and Student Services do?  Here is a current job description:

Reporting to the Dean of the College,

  • Oversee and direct enrollment management in the College’s Graduate Programs including:
    • Admission management – coordinate effort to advance and track students from prospect to enrolled student including recruiting, interviewing, corporate outreach, etc.
    • Marketing and communications – coordinate effort to clarify image of academic programs, establish enrollment targets to meet goals, understand the school’s differentiating factors and drive student prospects
    • Enrollment analytics – coordinate effort to collect and analyze data on internal and external factors affecting enrollment, student success (including retention), and the College’s image.
    • Retention – coordinate effort to keep and re-enroll students from one year to the next.
    • IT Management – coordinate use of information technology, including CRM and College’s web site, to maximize enrollment management effectiveness.
  • Oversee and direct student services in the College’s Graduate Programs including:
    • Experiential Learning – co-curricular activities and events that happen outside of the classroom such as leadership initiatives, workshops, student clubs, international travel, career preparation
    • Student Advising – coordinate efforta with Associate Dean of Graduate Programs to ensure that students receive high-quality advising services
    • Weekend Residencies for graduate program
    • IT Management – coordinate use of information technology to maximize delivery of student services to graduate students.
  • Coordinate relationships with:
    • University Graduate Admissions
    • University Marketing
    • University Financial Aid Office
    • University Registrar’s Office
    • Center for Career Development

Please note the high level of accountability associated with the position – this is important.   I would encourage anyone interested in this posting to learn more about NAGAP, The Association for Graduate Enrollment Management.  NAGAP is the only professional organization devoted exclusively to the concerns of individuals working in the graduate enrollment management environment.

from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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smart-group-300x300I served for eight years as a department head.  During that time, perhaps the most significant actions that I took concerned the “people process” (see my earlier post on this subject).   Actions were taken concerning the hiring, promotion (and non-promotion), evaluation and mentoring of faculty and staff.  These actions have a significant impact on the future of the organization.   Now, serving as associate dean, I take great satisfaction in leaving behind a department that continues to flourish with a new department head.    I believe that it is important to develop a leadership pipeline, and I firmly believe that there are now three or four individuals who could successful lead my old department.

As I look at the future of our college, I am reminded that our “people process” must do several things well:

  • evaluate individuals accurately, in depth and in a timely manner
  • provide a framework for identifying and developing leadership talent
  • hiring new talent that fits the COB’s mission
  • recognizing and rewarding success (including leadership team)
  • fair and equitable compensation
  • provide a framework for developing faculty teaching and scholarship (coordination with CFI)
  • increasing the diversity of the faculty and staff

What can we do better?  Here are a few thoughts:

  1. feedback can be more timely to faculty
  2. feedback from dean to leadership team (including center directors) must be more in depth and more timely
  3. 3rd year reviews, 1st year reviews, RTA 5 year reviews – consistent throughout college?
  4. faculty committees – how can we assess effectiveness?
  5. 36o feedback – how can they be used effectively?
  6. summer grants – more money for funding/increase accountability
  7. faculty fellowships – great tool to reward success (how do we award these?)
  8. fair and equitable faculty compensation – benchmark peer institutions

How should we proceed?   Put a “people process” committee together, and give them the charge to look at Issues 1 – 5.   Give the committee constraints.   Issues 6-7 are clearly in the dean’s court – the money must be raised – then we can figure out how best to spend the money.

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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Sam Palmisano, one of IBM’s most-successful and most-influential chief executives, ended his tenure as CEO ended on Dec. 31, 2011.  As CEO he drove unprecedented innovation across IBM and  focused corporate attention on analytics, cloud computing and the Smarter Planet initiative.  In a recent article, Palmisano used a “guiding framework” to devise and execute IBM’s successful strategies.  This guiding framework boils down to four fundamental questions:

  1. “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?”
  2. “Why would somebody work for you?”
  3. “Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?”
  4. “And why would somebody invest their money with you?”

I believe that these four questions are fundamental to a university and to a college of business.  These questions are fundamental to the four primary constituents for a university.   Let me explain:

STUDENTS – the university must clearly articulate the value proposition for students and their families to attend your university.  Why should a family spend a significant amount of money for their child to attend your school?  Why should a business professional spend their hard earned money to attend your MBA program?  In an era of increasing public skepticism of higher education, it is imperative for everyone in your organization to clearly and consistently answer this question.

FACULTY – talented and energized faculty are the lifeblood of the university.  Finding, developing and retaining the right faculty members – one’s that are a great fit for your university – is perhaps the top priority of the university.  What is special about your university from a faculty member’s perspective?  Why would a faculty member select your school?  Why would they stay there?  What is the value proposition for an outstanding faculty member to commit their career to your university?

LOCAL COMMUNITY/REGION/STATE/COUNTRY – what value does the university add to the local community and region?  Are the faculty, staff and students engaged with the community?   Is the leadership of the university engaged with the community?  How is the university positioned within the state?  Within the country?   Within other countries?   Is their scholarship that contributes to the well being of the region or state?  Is the university involved in regional economic development? If the university is positively engaged, the citizenship will want the institution to operate.

ALUMNI/INDUSTRY – what value proposition does the university offer for alumni giving?  What value proposition does the university offer to industry partners?  The university’s development office must offer a consistent message about the ‘return on investment’ for investment.  For state institutions, the value proposition for targeted stated funds must be consistently delivered to state legislators and bureaucrats.

Academic administrators, keep asking these four questions.  They will fundamentally focus your efforts on the right things!

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The College of Business is a complicated, multi-faceted system of people, processes, technologies, stakeholders and policies.  It is critical that the associate dean understand all of the organization’s dimensions.  A business architecture is defined as:

“a blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands.” (from  Object Management Group, Business Architecture Working Group)

Ultimately the business architecture provides an understanding of the organization by:

  1. providing an understanding of what the business currently has (“as-is”)
  2. providing an understanding of how the business fits into its environment
  3. providing an understanding of where we want to go (road-map/”to-be”)

According to Chris Reynolds in the book “Introduction to Business Architecture”, defines 5 dimensions to the business architecture:

  1. Goals: a clearly articulated set of goals for the business
  2. Facades: a model that shows what the business looks like within its environment, including interactions the business offers to its customers and suppliers
  3. Processes: a model that shows how the business needs to operate as a set of processes in order to support the interactions it exposes to the outside world
  4. Communications: an understanding of the mandatory and appropriate communications between a business and its environment, as well as internal communications that would be relevant and important
  5. Entities: an understanding of the information, in the form of business entities, that the business cares about, as well as interrelationships between the business entities that the business cares about.

My goal over the next six months is to apply the principles of business architecture to the College of Business.  I hope that BA will provide a better understanding of the gap/fit of the organization in its environment and its competition.  This should help clarify the right portfolio of projects to help the College of Business evolve toward its envisioned future state.

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