In exploring a comprehensive methodology for the implementation of an EA program, all four phases of the EA plan are important for planning and for decision-making. In terms of which of the four phases will provide the greatest challenge for my school district, it is difficult to select only one phase. The first phase which serves to establish an EA program appears fairly clear. The only challenge in this phase might be creating an EA governance capability that integrates with other IT management processes and a communication plan that is clear for all stakeholders and transparent. This seems less of an issue now that my district has reorganized many of its departments and the structure is clearer and more transparent than previous years. Phase II, which is designed to select an EA framework, components, and software applications to automate documentation of EA components will be a bit more challenging for larger school districts such as SDUSD. Particularly Step 7—Identifying the EA components to be documented. There are several older systems that are not part of the enterprise and a previous existing enterprise that appears to be in the process of being revitalized so it may involve additional steps. This will be much more involved and time consuming. And these steps also would have to be completed prior to Step 9—Selecting software applications/tools to support automated EA documentation. Phase III, which involves documenting the current and future state of the architecture and the development of the plan will not be as challenging, at least in terms of documenting the current state. With larger districts, documenting the future state is where the benefit lies to help avoid potential pitfalls and to allow more work to get done. Often it is the case that not enough planning goes into this phase or the updating piece in Phase IV falls through. Phase IV—Use and maintenance of the EA system, where the EA is used to support planning and decision-making and regular updates are performed is an area that will be challenging for my district, probably the greatest challenge given the size of district. This will probably need to done at least twice a year, maybe reviewed more often if there is a lot of employee turnover, a change in superintendent, or changes to the infrastructure. One of the challenges that SDUSD faces is aligning the EA plan with the vision and goals of the district and communicating updates to stakeholders when needed. Often EA links to other management processes are not well defined or integrated, and need to be adjusted to meet additional needs within the framework. Therefore, having a comprehensive plan in place that includes ongoing review and updates is necessary and perhaps time well spent. I see this as a challenge because the district is involved in several implementation projects over the next several years and I see EA links to these other processes critical. In terms of additional steps that can be taken to improve the success of Phase IV, having procedures in place that insure ongoing review, monitoring, reporting, and updating of the current and future state components, and a degree of control and oversight of each of the steps will help insure the EA plan is valuable for planning and decision-making.
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