Enterprise Architecture Governance

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Enterprise Architecture (EA) provides a global view of IT throughout the organization. This knowledge is essential when formulating changes and strategies for IT.
Discover how EA guides the evolution of IT at McGill.

What is Enterprise Architecture?

IT at McGill comprises a multitude of systems, processes, and components that support the functions of the University throughout all levels and domains. As the community’s needs evolve, so must our services.

The evolution of IT at McGill requires a thorough understanding of the following:

  • Current IT services throughout the University
  • The structure and business needs of our community
  • Interdependencies that exist between IT systems and business functions at McGill

Enterprise architecture (EA) provides this essential insight as well as identifying changes required to our technology landscape and capabilities to support McGill's future needs.

McGill's Enterprise Architecture Principles and Standards

The following guidelines summarizes the principles used by EA in directing its decision making: 

Remain customer-focused:

  • Community-driven approach: EA works with stakeholders in the community to evaluate and address their needs
  • Assess the impact of technical solutions on business functions to ensure their continuity and recovery in the event of a malfunction or error

Comply with security and legal requirements:

  • All solutions must comply with McGill’s policies and directives
  • Treat data like an asset and apply appropriate security measures to its handling, transmission and storage

Advocate sustainable IT solutions:

  • Promote reusability of existing solutions
  • Limit customization of new solutions
  • Ensure that solutions use supported technology

Enterprise Architecture: Roles and functions

The Architecture Review Board (ARB)

The EA team comprises a set of experts who meet and collaborate regularly with other teams in IT who represent business units from across McGill. Together, they form the Architecture Review Board (ARB).

With their collective expertise, the ARB evaluates proposed solutions that have been submitted to support business requests.

The Board reviews proposed approaches to ensure alignment of architecture decisions and provide consistent decision-making for solutions that IT Services deploys. By having this overarching body and oversight, we ensure alignment with strategic directions, decrease the likelihood of duplicating IT capabilities, provide traceability and documentation on decision making for each initiative. We also follow a defined workflow and methodology established by McGill IT.

The result of the ARB’s involvement may be an enhancement, replacement, or addition to IT services, and/or a strategy to guide IT’s continuing evolution.

ARB process and activities

The ARB holds bi-weekly, 1-hour meetings to review the architecture of projects in progress. Each is led by an Enterprise Architect and attended by a Solution Architect, as well as guests relevant to the project under review.

Project architecture: When to review

Project managers will request architecture reviews at specific points in a project’s lifecycle. However, a review may be called at any point in this process.

These reviews may be initiated in the following circumstances:

  • When a project's compliance with EA principles and standards needs to be evaluated before it can proceed.
  • If there is evidence that a proposed solution may be non-compliant with EA principles and standards: In these cases, the Solution Architect identifies the issue and notifies the Project Manager, who then calls a request for a review.

Who to contact

If you have general questions about enterprise architecture, we are here to help you. Please contact the cccafbc4.McGill.onmicrosoft.com [at] ca.teams.ms (Enterprise Architecture team)

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