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K-12 Education Industry Reference Architecture

Capability maps, value streams, and strategy maps for K-12 education.

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  • Business leadership requires a unified and validated view of K-12 education business capabilities that helps CIOs and K-12 education leadership accelerate the strategy design process and that aligns initiatives, investments, and strategy.
  • The district and IT often focus on a project, ignoring the holistic impact and value of an overarching value stream and business capability view.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Using an industry-specific reference architecture is central, and has many benefits, to organizational priorities. It’s critical to understanding, modeling, and communicating the operating environment and the direction of the institution, but more significantly, to enabling measurable top-line institutional outcomes and the unlocking of direct value.

Impact and Result

  • Demonstrate the value of IT’s role in supporting your institution’s capabilities while highlighting the importance of proper alignment between academic, administrative, and IT strategies.
  • Apply business architecture techniques such as strategy maps, value streams, and capability maps to design usable and accurate blueprints of your institution’s operations.
  • Assess your initiatives and priorities to determine if you are investing in the right capabilities. Conduct capability assessments to identify opportunities and to prioritize projects.

K-12 Education Industry Reference Architecture Research & Tools

1. Accelerate the strategy design process

Leverage a validated view of the higher education’s business capabilities to realize measurable top-line business outcomes and unlock direct value.

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K-12 Education Reference Architecture

Business Capability Maps, Value Streams, and Strategy Maps for the K-12 Education Industry.

Analyst Perspective

In the age of disruption, IT must end misalignment & enable value realization.

A business reference architecture is used in a variety of strategic planning initiatives and connects strategy to execution in a manner that is accurate, traceable, and promotes the efficient use of organizational resources.

An industry business reference architecture helps accelerate your strategy design process and enhances IT's ability to align people, process, and technology with key district goals, outcomes and initiatives.

Using an industry-specific reference architecture is central, and has many benefits, to organizational priorities. It is critical to understanding, modelling and communicating the operating environment and the direction of the district but, more significantly, to enabling measurable top-line business outcomes and the unlocking of direct value.

School boards that leverage a validated view of their business capabilities that align initiatives, investments, and strategy are able to realize measurable top-line board outcomes and the unlocking of direct value.

This is a picture of Mark Maby, MA, PhD Research Director for Education, Industry Practice Info-Tech Research Group

Mark Maby, MA, PhD
Research Director for Education, Industry Practice
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

You are a CIO, head of EA, or chief architect who needs to improve your organization's understanding of business capabilities and how IT can support you.

Your organization wants to sharpen its alignment and focus on organizational outcomes and value by using architecture to better inform its innovation, stakeholder management, and IT strategy capabilities.

Before executing any strategic initiatives, use this blueprint to understand how the organization creates value and the underlying capabilities and processes of the organization.

Common Obstacles

You don't know where or how to begin, or how to engage the right people, model the business, and drive the value of an architecture.

Faculty and IT often speak in their own languages without a wholistic and integrated view of mission, strategies, goals, processes, and projects.

Faculty and IT often focus on a project, ignoring the holistic value of an overarching value stream and business capability view.

Info-Tech's Approach

Build your organization's capability map by defining the organization's value stream and validating the industry reference architecture.

Use business capabilities to define strategic focus by defining the organization's key capabilities and developing a prioritized strategy map

Assess key capabilities for planning priorities through a review of business processes, information, application and technology support of key capabilities.

Consolidate and prioritize capability gaps for incorporation into priorities.

Info-Tech Insight

Using an industry-specific reference architecture is central, and has many benefits, to organizational priorities. It is critical to understanding, modelling and communicating the operating environment and the direction of the organization but, more significantly, to enabling measurable top-line organizational outcomes and the unlocking of direct value.

This is a picture of the Reference Architecture Framework.

Industry Overview: K-12 Education

School districts are responsible for delivering primary and secondary education to the public. This education is provided to children regardless of their economic situation. Public schools are organized into school districts governed by elected school boards. These school boards, in turn, are responsible to the government (usually at the state or provincial level).

While the development of the curriculum is usually the responsibility of the government's education authority, school districts are a key source of input during the development process. The government authority may also influence the standards of assessment to ensure that the curriculum is effectively delivered. However, the actual instruction is the responsibility of the schools and their teachers. The school district is also concerned with enrollment, because changes in demographics have a direct effect on where schools are located.

School districts rely on multiple sources of public funding. These include grants and transfer payments from state and federal governments, as well as direct funding through local property taxes.

In addition to public schools, there are also private, religious, and charter schools. These schools, to a degree, are run with more autonomy.

Source:NAICS Code: 611110 Elementary and Secondary Schools

Develop Curriculum; Manage Student Enrollment; Deliver Instruction; Assess Student Achievement.

Figure above: Value chain for the school district industry

Business Value Realization

Business value defines the success criteria of an organization as manifested through organizational goals and outcomes, and it is interpreted from four perspectives:

  • Revenue generation: The revenue generated from a business capability with a product that is enabled with modern technologies.
  • Cost reduction: The cost reduction when performing business capabilities with a product that is enabled with modern technologies.
  • Service enablement: The productivity and efficiency gains of internal business operations from products and capabilities enhanced with modern technologies.
  • Customer and market reach: The improved reach and insights of the business in existing or new markets.

Business value matrix

This is an image of a quadrant analysis. The top is labeled Outward, the bottom is labeled Inward, the right is labeled Financial Benefit, and the left is labeled Improved Capabilities. The quadrants are labeled as follows, in order from left to right, top to bottom.  Customer and market reach; Revenue generation; Service enablement; Cost reduction

Value, goals, and outcomes cannot be achieved without business capabilities

Break down your business goals into strategic and achievable initiatives focused on specific value streams and business capabilities.

goals and outcomes

Business initiatives

Level 1 business

capabilities

This is an image of an example of how to break down goals into strategic, achievable initiatives using value streams.

K-12 education business capability map

Business capability map defined…

In business architecture, the primary view of an organization is known as a business capability map.

A business capability defines what a business does to enable value creation, rather than how. Business capabilities:

  • Represent stable business functions.
  • Are unique and independent of each other.
  • Typically will have a defined business outcome.

A business capability map provides details that help the business architecture practitioner direct attention to a specific area of the business for further assessment.

This is an image of the K-12 education business capability map

Glossary of key concepts

A business reference architecture consists of a set of models to provide clarity and actionable insight and value. Typical techniques and terms used in developing these models are:

Term/Concept Definition
Industry value chain A high-level analysis of how the industry creates value for the consumer as an overall end-to-end process.
Business capability map The primary visual representation of the organization's key capabilities. This model forms the basis of strategic planning discussions.
Industry value streams The specific set of activities an industry player undertakes to create and capture value for and from the end consumer.
Strategic objectives A set of standard strategic objectives that most industry players will feature in their corporate plans.
Industry strategy map A visualization of the alignment between the organization's strategic direction and its key capabilities.
Capability assessments Based on people, process, information, and technology, a heat-mapping effort that analyzes the strength of each key capability.
Capability An ability that an organization, person, or system possesses. Capabilities are typically expressed in general and high-level terms and typically require a combination of organization, people, processes, and technology to achieve.

Source: TOGAF - The Open Group 2011

Tools and templates to compile and communicate your reference architecture work

The K-12 Education Industry Reference Architecture Template is a place for you to collect all the activity outputs and outcomes you've completed for use in next steps.

Download the K-12 Education Industry Reference Architecture Template

Info-Tech's methodology for reference architecture

1.Build your organization's capability map 2.Use business capabilities to define strategic focus 3.Assess key capabilities for planning priorities 4.Adopt capability-based strategy planning

Phase Steps

1.1 Define the organization's value stream

1.2 Develop a business capability map

2.1 Define the organization's key capabilities

2.2 Develop a strategy map

3.1 Business process review

3.2 Information assessment

3.3 Technology opportunity identification

4.1 Consolidate and prioritize capability gaps

Phase Outcomes

  • Defined and validated value streams specific to your organization
  • A validated Level 1 business capability map
  • Identification of Level 1 cost advantage creators
  • Identification of Level 1 competitive advantage creators
  • Defined future state capabilities
  • Identification of capability process enablement
  • Identification of capability data support
  • Identification of capability application and technology support
  • Prioritization of key capability gaps

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

“Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful.”

Guided Implementation

“Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track.”

Workshop

“We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place.”

Consulting

“Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project.”

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Guided Implementation

What does a typical GI on this topic look like?

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Phase 5

Call #1: Scope requirements, objectives, and your specific challenges.

Call #2: Assess current maturity.

Call #4: identify relationship between current initiatives and capabilities.

Call #6: Identify strategy risks.

Call #8: Identify and prioritize improvements.

Call #3: Identify target-state capabilities.

Call #5: Create initiative profiles.

Call #7: Identify required budget.

Call #9: Summarize results and plan next steps.

A Guided Implementation (GI) is a series of calls with an Info-Tech analyst to help implement our best practices in your organization.

A typical GI is between 8 and 12 calls over the course of 4 to 6 months.

Phase 1

Build your organization's capability map

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4

1.1 Define the organization's value stream

1.2 Develop a business capability map

2.1 Define the organization's key capabilities

2.2 Develop a strategy map

3.1 Business process review

3.2 Information assessment

3.3 Technology opportunity identification

4.1 Consolidate and prioritize capability gaps

This phase will walk you through the following activities:

  • Identifying and assembling key stakeholders
  • Determining how the organization creates value
  • Defining and Determining which business capabilities support value streams
  • Accelerating the process with an industry reference architecture
  • Validating the business capability map

This phase involves the following participants:

  • Enterprise/Business Architect
  • Business Analysts
  • Business Unit Leads
  • CIO
  • Departmental Executive and Senior managers

K-12 Education Industry Reference Architecture

Step 1.1

Define the organization's value stream

1.1.1 Identify and assemble key stakeholders

Build an accurate depiction of the business.

It is important that the right stakeholders participate in this exercise. Identifying capabilities for an organization is very introspective and requires deep analysis.

Consider:

  • Who are the decision makers and key influencers?
  • Who will impact the business architecture work? Who has a vested interest in the success or failure of the practice?
  • Who has the skills and competencies necessary to help you be successful?

Avoid:

  • Don't focus on the organizational structure and hierarchy. Often stakeholder groups don't fit the traditional structure.
  • Don't ignore subject-matter experts on either the business or IT side. You need to consider both.

1.1.2 Determine how the organization creates value

The first step of delivering value is defining how it will happen.

Use the organization's industry segment to start a discussion on how value is created for customers. Working back from the moment value is realized by the customer, consider the sequential steps required to deliver value in your industry segment.

Consider:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What tasks are your customers looking to accomplish?
  • How does your organization's set of products and services help them accomplish that?
  • What are the benefits the organization delivers to them?

Avoid:

  • Don't boil the ocean. Focus on your industry segment and how you deliver value to your partners and customers specifically.

1.1.3 Define and validate the organization's value streams

Unify the organization's perspective on how it creates value.

Write a short description of the value stream that includes a statement about the value provided and a clear start and end for the value stream. Validate the accuracy of the descriptions with your key stakeholders.

Consider:

  • How does the organization deliver those benefits?
  • How does the customer receive the benefits?
  • What is the scope of your value stream? What will trigger the stream to start and what will the final value be?

Avoid:

  • Don't start with a blank page. Use Info-Tech's value stream definitions on the previous slide as a starting point, and customize from there.

Determine how the organization creates value

Begin the process by identifying and locating the business mission & vision statements.

  • Corporate websites
  • Business strategy documents
  • Business executives
  • Business mission
  • Business vision

What is business context?

"The business context encompasses an understanding of the factors impacting the business from various perspectives, including how decisions are made and what the business is ultimately trying to achieve. The business context is used by IT to identify key implications for the execution of its strategic initiatives."

Source: Businesswire, 2018

Define the organization's value streams

  • Value streams connect business goals to the organization's value realization activities. They enable an organization to create and capture value in the market place by engaging in a set of interconnected activities. Those activities are dependent on the specific industry segment an organization operates within. Value streams can extend beyond the organization into the supporting ecosystem, whereas business processes are contained within and the organization has complete control over them.
  • There are two types of value streams: core value streams and support value streams. Core value streams are mostly external-facing: they deliver value to either an external or internal customer and they tie to the customer perspective of the strategy map. Support value streams are internal-facing and provide the foundational support for an organization to operate.
  • An effective method for ensuring all value streams have been considered is to understand that there can be different end-value receivers. Info-Tech recommends identifying and organizing the value streams with customers and partners as end-value receivers.

This is an example of how industry value chains, value receivers, and value streams relate to each other.

Value stream descriptions for K-12 education

Value Streams

This is an image of the value stream for k-12 education.  The stages are discussed in the table below.

Develop curriculum

  • The development of the curriculum is the responsibility of the government authority responsible for education. However, teachers provide a valuable source of input.
  • The curriculum establishes the learning objectives, their sequence across grades, and the resources which the board will provide the students (textbooks and other educational tools and materials).

Manage student enrollment

  • Enrollment planning considers the long-term demographic changes happening within society and the district's capacity to accept students.
  • Enrollment also involves the registering of students for the school year, scheduling students and teachers to classes, and developing the academic calendar.

Deliver instruction

  • Teachers will deliver the core curriculum to the majority of the students in a typical way.
  • Certain student populations will receive a modified version of the core curriculum because of individual differences from the majority. Factors include age, first language, or academic ability significantly above or below their cohort.

Assess student achievement

  • Teachers will perform various forms of assessment to ensure that their students are achieving the learning objectives.
  • Some of these assessments will be recorded and reported to the government authority.
  • Assessments will be used to determine the progression of a student through the curriculum to graduation, with transitional support to tertiary education.

Step 1.2

Develop a Business Capability Map

1.2.1 Determine which business capabilities support value streams

Deconstruct value streams into their component capabilities.

Analyze the value streams to identify and describe the organization's capabilities that support them. This stage requires a good understanding of the business and will be a critical foundation for the business capability map.

Consider:

  • What is the objective of your value stream? This can highlight which capabilities support which value streams.
  • What are the activities that make up the business?
  • Segmenting your value stream into individual stages will give you a better understanding of the steps involved in creating value.

Avoid:

  • Don't do this alone. Make sure the right stakeholders participate. Identifying capabilities for an organization is very introspective and requires deep analysis. It is challenging to develop a common language that everyone will understand and be able to apply. Don't waste your efforts building an inaccurate depiction of the business.

1.2.2 Accelerate the process with an industry reference architecture

It's never a good idea to start with a blank page.

The business capability map on the previous slide can be used as an accelerator. Assemble the relevant stakeholders – business unit leads and product/service owners – and modify the business capability map to suit your organization's context.

Consider:

  • What are the activities that make up your business?
  • Can these activities be tied to outcomes? If not, they might not apply to your organization.
  • Are there any capabilities on the map that don't fit the organization? Deselect them if yes.

Avoid:

  • Don't repeat capabilities. Capabilities are typically mutually exclusive activities.
  • Don't include temporary initiatives. Capabilities should be stable over time. The people, processes, and technologies that support capabilities will change continuously.

1.2.3 Validate the business capability map

Crowdsource the capability map validation.

Validate the capability map with the executive team (those who were not included) and other key stakeholders. Use validation of your business capability map as an excuse to start a conversation regarding the organization's overall strategy.

Consider:

  • Are there any sensitive areas of the organization that may take this effort the wrong way? Engage them to get their input as early as possible to ensure they don't feel left out or alienated.

Avoid:

  • Don't delay validating the maps with top-level executives. Without their support, your architecture practice won't be taken seriously.
  • Don't leave anyone out on the assumption that they won't be interested. This process will foster alignment between organizational silos.

Develop a business capability map – level 1

  • Business architecture consists of a set of techniques to create multiple views of an organization; the primary view is known as a business capability map.
  • A business capability defines what a business does to enable value creation and achieve outcomes, rather than how. Business capabilities are business terms defined using descriptive nouns such as "marketing" or "research and development." They represent stable business functions, are unique and independent of each other, and typically will have a defined business outcome. Business capabilities should not be defined as organizational units and are typically longer-lasting than organizational structures.
  • A business capability mapping process should begin at the highest level view of an organization, the level 1, which presents the entire business on a page.
  • An effective method of organizing business capabilities is to split them into logical groupings or categories. At the highest level, capabilities are either "core" (customer-facing functions) or "enabling" (supporting functions). As a best practice, Info-Tech recommends dividing business capabilities into the categories illustrated below:

This image shows where on the business capability map you will discuss: Defining capabilities; Shared Capabilities; and Enabling Capabilities.

Business capability map for K-12 education

This is an image of the Business capability map for K-12 education

Phase 2

Use business capabilities to define strategic focus

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4

1.1 Define the organization's value stream

1.2 Develop a business capability map

2.1 Define the organization's key capabilities

2.2 Develop a strategy map

3.1 Business process review

3.2 Information assessment

3.3 Technology opportunity identification

4.1 Consolidate and prioritize capability gaps

This phase will walk you through the following activities:

  • Determining cost advantage creators
  • Determining competitive advantage creators
  • Defining key future-state capabilities
  • Identifying the strategic objectives for the business
  • Mapping strategic objectives to IT programs
  • Validating the strategy map and program prioritization

This phase involves the following participants:

  • Enterprise/Business Architect
  • Business Analysts
  • Business Unit Leads
  • CIO
  • Departmental Executive and Senior managers

K-12 Education Industry Reference Architecture

Step 2.1

Define the organization's key capabilities

2.1.1 Determine cost advantage creators

Focus on capabilities that drive a cost advantage for your organization.

If your organization has a cost advantage over competitors, the capabilities that enable it should be identified and prioritized. Highlight these capabilities and prioritize the programs that support them.

Consider:

  • What is the source of your cost advantage? IT should support the capabilities that drive the cost advantage.
  • Is the industry you operate insensitive to prices?

Avoid:

  • Don't focus on capabilities that create an unsustainable cost advantage. Take a long-term perspective and allocate your resources wisely.

2.1.2 Determine competitive advantage creators

Prioritize capabilities that give your organization an edge over rivals.

If your organization does not have a cost advantage over competitors, determine if it can deliver differentiated end-customer experiences. Once you have identified the competitive advantages, understand which capabilities enable them. These capabilities are critical to your organization's success and should be highly supported.

Consider:

  • Are there any products or services your organization provides that customers consider superior to competitive offerings?
  • Which capabilities enable the competitive advantage?
  • How easy is it for competitors to neutralize your competitive advantage? Focus on capabilities that are difficult to replicate by competitors to create a sustainable advantage.

Avoid:

  • Don't determine the competitive advantages alone. Incorporate various perspectives from throughout the organization to truly understand how the organization competes in the marketplace.

2.1.3 Define key future-state capabilities

Know where you want to go, and chart a course to get there.

In addition to the current cost and competitive advantage creators, the organization may have the intention to enhance new capabilities. Discuss and select the capabilities that will help drive the attainment of future goals.

Consider:

  • Are your competitors doing anything to give them a competitive advantage? Can your organization easily replicate capabilities needed to neutralize that advantage?
  • How is the external environment (political, economic, social, or technological) likely going to change in the future? How might these changes impact your key capabilities?

Avoid:

  • Don't blindly copy your competitors' strategies. It is important to understand that each organization is unique; before focusing on key capabilities that might neutralize your competitors' advantages, ensure they fit well with your overall strategy.

Define the organization's key capabilities

  • A discussion about the key or most critical capabilities is an excellent opportunity for IT leaders to review, refresh, and even reset expectations from the business as to what value IT should be providing. There is often misalignment as to whether, or to what extent, IT should be making strategic investments to help the business enhance its capabilities through technology. Some IT leaders believe they should be transforming the organization, while their CEO wants them to focus on operational efficiencies.
  • Depending on the mandate from the business, an IT leader may focus on developing a cost advantage for the organization by directing technology efforts to capabilities that deliver efficiency gains. This is often the case for many IT leaders for whom the primary role for IT is to enable the business to deliver its products/services to the end consumer at the lowest cost possible. These capabilities are known as cost advantage creators.
  • Organizations can develop a competitive advantage over their industry counterparts by creating a differentiated experience for the organization's customers. Increasingly, this is facilitated and made possible through technology. IT can direct investment into capabilities that will improve their organization's competitive position in its market by delivering unique or enhanced experiences for the organization's end customers. IT can focus on developing a competitive advantage by directing efforts onto capabilities that are end-customer facing. These are known as the organization's competitive advantage creators.

This is an image of a business Capability Map, with boxes and arrows pointing to Cost Advantage Creators, and Competitive Advantage.

Business capability map for K-12 education

This is an image of the Business capability map for K-12 education

Step 2.2

Develop a Strategy Map

2.2.1 Identify the strategic objectives for the business

Knowing the key strategic objectives for the business will drive business-IT alignment.

It is important to make sure the right strategic objectives of the organization have been identified and are well understood. Engage the right stakeholders to help identify and document the key strategic objectives for the business.

Consider:

  • Who are the decision makers and key influencers?
  • Who will impact the strategic objectives for the business?
  • Are there external forces that will impact the current strategic objectives?

Avoid:

  • Don't simply go with the existing documented strategic objectives for the business. Ensure they are up to date, and interview the decision makers to get the most updated objectives if needed.

2.2.2 Map the strategic objectives to the it programs that support them

Communicate the business strategy to other levels of the organization visually.

Starting with strategic objectives, map the value streams that will ultimately drive them. Next, link the key capabilities that enable each value stream. Finally, map the IT programs supporting those capabilities. This process will help you prioritize IT programs that deliver the most value to the organization.

Consider:

  • Focus on the value streams that truly drive the strategic objectives.
  • Are there any capabilities that are not tied to outcomes?
  • Are all strategic objectives supported with IT programs?

Avoid:

  • Don't be too granular. The audience for a strategy is interested in a higher-level understanding of what IT is doing. As such, keep things at the program level as opposed to the individual projects that programs are composed of.

2.2.3 Validate the strategy map and program prioritization

Crowdsource the strategy map validation.

Validate the strategy map in layers. Start with IT and confirm which IT programs enable particular capabilities. Next, work with the business departments to validate the capabilities that support the value streams. Finally, validate the strategic objectives of the organization with the C-suite and communicate the value streams that support them.

Consider:

  • Are all strategic objectives equally important? If not, get a prioritized list of strategic objectives.
  • Do any of the programs have critical dependencies that influence sequencing?
  • If there are strategic objectives that do not have any IT programs mapped to them, consider adding new programs. Conversely, reconsider upcoming programs that do not have a connection to strategic objectives.

Avoid:

  • Don't delay validating the strategic maps with top-level executives. A proactive approach will save you time in terms of rework and maximize alignment.
  • Don't leave anyone out on the assumption that they won't be interested. It is easy to miss key stakeholders – be careful and organized.

2.2 Develop a strategy map

A strategy map is a tool to help narrow the focus onto what matters most. With ever-changing resources, business strategies, and external environments, the strategy map can ensure IT is consistently providing value through the enhanced prioritization of IT programs.

Strategy mapping is a technique that helps the executive suite communicate the business strategy to other levels of the organization by visually representing the organizational strategic objectives and mapping each of them to value streams, business capabilities, and ultimately, to specific IT programs. There are five layers to a strategy map: strategic business goals, business initiatives, value streams, business capabilities, and IT programs.

Strategic business goals are the targets and outcomes that the organization is looking to achieve.

Value streams enable an organization to create and capture value in the market through interconnected activities that support strategic objectives.

Business capabilities define what a business does to enable value creation in value streams, rather than how.

IT programs are actionable descriptions of how the IT department will enable one or multiple business capabilities in its target state.

This is an image o the Business Strategy Map Template.

Illustrative example of strategic goals & outcomes for K-12 education

Acme School District

  1. Student achievement
    • We prepare students with the academic knowledge and skills needed to navigate life beyond graduation.
  2. Strong partnerships
    • We build relationships between students, staff, family and communities to ensure the well-being of our students in a nurturing environment.
  3. Innovative teaching
    • We continue to explore innovative teaching methods that are socially meaningful and are supportive of the students' abilities and relationships.

Illustrative example of strategy map

This is an illustrate example of a Strategy Map Template.

Note: Illustrative example. To edit and customize this visual please download the corresponding template.

Phase 3

Assess key capabilities for planning priorities

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4

1.1 Define the organization's value stream

1.2 Develop a business capability map

2.1 Define the organization's key capabilities

2.2 Develop a strategy map

3.1 Business process review

3.2 Information assessment

3.3 Technology opportunity identification

4.1 Consolidate and prioritize capability gaps

This phase will walk you through the following activities:

  • Assessing process support for capabilities
  • Evaluating user adoption of processes for key capabilities
  • Prioritizing key capabilities process refinement
  • Assessing how well information supports capabilities
  • Evaluating accessibility to data for key capabilities
  • Prioritizing data improvements for key capabilities
  • Assessing technology support of capabilities
  • Uncovering value opportunities for applications
  • Comparing results with industry research to determine plan of action

This phase involves the following participants:

  • Enterprise/Business Architect
  • Business Analysts
  • Business Unit Leads
  • CIO
  • Departmental Executive & Senior managers

K-12 Education Industry Reference Architecture

Step 3.1

Business process review

3.1.1 Assess how well processes support capabilities

Standardization breeds efficiency.

Begin by assessing whether each key capability has documented processes supporting it. Then evaluate whether the documented processes have been communicated and the extent to which there is process overlap.

Consider:

  • What processes are documented?
  • Have the documented processes been communicated to the business users?
  • Are some of the processes redundant? Has that been done on purpose or can you optimize them?
  • Are there key capabilities that lack processes all together?

Avoid:

  • Don't waste time. Only evaluate processes that are documented and communicated, and then evaluate them for exclusivity.
  • Don't do this in a vacuum. Validate that you have captured all existing processes by speaking to other employees.

3.1.2 Evaluate user adoption of processes for key capabilities

Having processes is one thing, but are they being adhered to?

Now assess whether defined processes are being adhered to. Confirm if the organization enforces adherence and that regular monitoring for deviations is occurring.

Consider:

  • Is there regular monitoring for deviations from the defined process? Is this recorded and acted upon?
  • Are there certain groups of users that are not following the processes in place? Why?

Avoid:

  • Don't think the lack of process adherence is simply the employees' fault. In some cases, the processes might not be well designed or are outdated, thus warranting the need for refinement.

3.1.3 Prioritize process refinement for key capabilities scoring 'medium' or below

Use process to drive collaboration and integration.

Key capabilities should be well supported by processes. If there are any capabilities that scored 'Medium' or below, prioritize delivering effective process support, improving user adoption, and establishing effective process governance.

Consider:

  • Is business process management in your mandated area of influence, responsibility, or accountability? If not, consider who you may need to recruit for support from the business side to drive refinements.
  • Communicate any new processes or changes to existing ones through a variety of mediums. Make it easy for the users/employees to reference them if needed.

Avoid:

  • Don't create redundant processes. Ensure there is minimal overlap with existing processes if you are creating a new process.
  • Don't forget to think about user adoption and governance when creating new processes. This might be more challenging, but will ultimately ensure long-term success.

Business process review

Use process analysis and assessment to drive collaboration and integration.

Organizations undergoing growth, either organically or through M&A, tend to develop in a piecemeal and short-sighted fashion in an attempt to preserve their view of agility. This can lead to the following pains:

Duplicated or conflicting business activities.

Processes that create bottlenecks by involving too many business units.

Manual rekeying of data into multiple systems.

Inefficient process for producing standard reports.

These organizations are driven by the desire to effectively manage existing business processes while recognizing the need for a faster ability to share data, information, and insight across multiple systems and business units to support increasing demands for a more rapid response.

A primary goal of a strategy is to provide a framework that enables the current business environment to function as seamlessly as possible, allowing for flexibility when processes need to evolve.

Through effective strategy design, IT can provide integration across business units by performing an analysis of how well the organizational capabilities are supported by processes. Specifically, IT should analyze and assess processes on the basis of adherence, enforcement, overlap and on the presence of effective monitoring measures.

Assess how well processes support capabilities

Red

NONE: No documented process exists.

Yellow LOW: Processes have been documented, but have not been effectively communicated and may be in conflict.
Light Green MEDIUM: Low + processes are explicitly defined and have been formally communicated. There is minimal overlap between processes.
Dark Green HIGH: Medium + processes are enforced and regularly monitored for deviations. Employees typically adhere to the process.

Figure above: Process assessment legend

Business process support of key capabilities

The business Capability map is depicted, color-coded to help you to Assess how well processes support capabilities using the legend below.

Note: Illustrative Example

Red

NONE: No documented process exists.

YellowLOW: Processes have been documented, but have not been effectively communicated and may be in conflict.
Light GreenMEDIUM: Low + processes are explicitly defined and have been formally communicated. There is minimal overlap between processes.
Dark GreenHIGH: Medium + processes are enforced and regularly monitored for deviations. Employees typically adhere to the process.

Step 3.2

Information assessment

3.2.1 Assess how well information supports capabilities

Information is a key business asset.

Begin by assessing whether each key capability has data available to support it. Then evaluate the quality and integrity of the data and the extent to which there is clear business unit ownership of the data.

Consider:

  • What data exists to support the capability?
  • Does the same data exist in various databases?
  • What controls exist to ensure quality and integrity?
  • Are there key capabilities that lack automated information altogether?

Avoid:

  • Don't waste time. Only evaluate information holdings that are central to the capability.
  • Don't do this in a vacuum. Validate that you have captured all existing data by collaborating with other IT and business unit employees.

3.2.2 Evaluate accessibility to information for key capabilities

Having data is one thing, but is it easily accessible and available in a format suitable for decision-making?

The next level of analysis involves assessing whether data is easily accessible to the main users of the information.

Consider:

  • Is data well integrated so executives do not have to access more than one source for the information they need? Is there a Data Warehouse capability to bring together data from disparate databases?
  • Is there an end-user business intelligence (BI) capability? Are users sufficiently trained in its use?

Avoid:

  • Don't think that the lack of information is the fault of any one IT unit or application. In most cases, there is a lack of a comprehensive approach to enterprise and data architecture at the core of the problem.

3.2.3 Prioritize data improvements for key capabilities scoring 'medium' or below

Use data to institute information as an asset.

Key capabilities should be well supported by data. If there are any capabilities that scored Level 2 or below, prioritize establishing an effective data governance framework. Leverage Build a Business Aligned Data Architecture Optimization Strategy and Data Quality Scorecard.

Consider:

  • Is data management fully in your mandated area of influence, responsibility, or accountability? If not, consider who you may need to recruit for support from the business side to drive refinements.
  • Effective data governance will require close collaboration between IT and the data owners on the business side.

Avoid:

  • Don't create redundant data. Ensure there is minimal overlap with existing data elements if you are creating a new application or database process.
  • Don't forget to think about end user access and reporting tools when creating new data holdings. This might be challenging, but it will ultimately ensure long-term success.

Information assessment

  • Assess the availability and quality of data in providing information as a business asset.
  • Information is central to every organization's success and ability to realize its goals. Too often organizations experience the following pains:
    • Duplicated or conflicting data residing in disparate databases.
    • Inadequate controls or edits on data.
    • Manual rekeying of data into multiple systems.
    • Inability to provide executives with reliable and easily accessible information for decision-making.
    • Inability of business units to assume "ownership" of data.
  • These organizations are driven by the desire to effectively manage existing business processes while recognizing the need for a faster ability to share data, information, and insight across multiple systems and business units to support increasing demands for more rapid response.
  • A primary goal of a strategy is to provide a framework that enables information to be viewed as a critical business asset, across organizational boundaries, and accessed as seamlessly as possible.
  • Through effective strategy design, IT can provide integration of data across business units by performing an analysis of how well the organizational capabilities are supported by information. Specifically, IT should analyze and assess data on the basis of quality, integrity, ownership and on the presence of an effective data governance framework.

Assess how well existing information supports capabilities

Red

None: Data is unavailable, unreliable, duplicated, or not of sufficient detail.

Yellow

Low: Data is available but not subject to adequate integrity or quality controls. Data ownership is undefined.

Light Green

Medium: Low + Data is available but not fully automated. Data ownership is mostly defined.

Dark Green

High: Medium + Data is available, of high quality, fully automated with clear ownership.

Figure above: Information assessment legend

Information Support of Key Capabilities

The business Capability map is depicted, color-coded to help you to Assess how well existing information supports capabilities using the legend below.

Note: Illustrative Example

Red

None: Data is unavailable, unreliable, duplicated, or not of sufficient detail.

Yellow

Low: Data is available but not subject to adequate integrity or quality controls. Data ownership is undefined.

Light Green

Medium: Low + Data is available but not fully automated. Data ownership is mostly defined.

Dark Green

High: Medium + Data is available, of high quality, fully automated with clear ownership.

Step 3.3

Technology opportunity assessment

3.3.1 Assess how well capabilities are supported by applications

Determine how well key capabilities are supported by applications.

Perform an application rationalization exercise on the key capabilities to determine how well they are being supported by applications. Applications should be assessed on the basis of flexibility, ease of use, and integration.

Consider:

  • How flexible are the applications?
  • How well do the applications integrate?
  • How easy are the applications to learn and use?
  • Are there overlap, unplanned redundancy, or data quality issues?

Avoid:

  • Don't perform a complete overhaul. Consider continuity in delivering business services before you rip and replace everything.
  • Don't forget about shadow IT. Ask around to get an accurate understanding of what applications are being used to support business capabilities.

3.3.2 Uncover opportunities for applications to create value

Make sure the business is leveraging applications wherever it should.

Unsupported key capabilities are areas in which IT can deliver high value for the business. The key capabilities that score Level 1 or 2 in the technology assessment are the ones that require the most attention.

Consider:

  • Prioritize which unsupported key capabilities to focus on based on their importance.

Avoid:

  • Don't focus on unsupported key capabilities that will require too much investment.
  • Don't build an application just because you can. Research existing solutions before deciding to build in-house.

3.3.3 Compare results with industry research to determine a plan of action

Compare your results with Info-Tech's industry technology assessment.

Compare your organization's technology assessment with the industry-specific technology assessment provided. If the capability is well supported in the industry but unsupported in your organization, purchasing applications is a viable option. Leverage SoftwareReviews to make an informed decision about any purchases.

Consider:

  • What are the future needs of the business?
  • What are the compliance requirements?
  • How much vendor support will you require?
  • Do you have already have the underpinning infrastructure required to run the applications or will an investment need to be made?
  • How well will the new application integrate with existing applications?

Avoid:

  • Don't forget that every organization is unique. Develop a strong understanding of how the key capability needs to be supported, who the users will be, and if the application will integrate well with existing solutions before you make a purchase.
  • Buying isn't always better than building. If you discover through software reviews that the existing solutions will not meet your needs, revisit the option to build an in-house solution.

Technology opportunity assessment

New technologies can create opportunities for business agility and help develop resilience to changing market conditions.

  • Business agility is essential to stay competitive. However, the application portfolio of many organizations cannot sufficiently support the flexibility and efficiency the business needs because of legacy challenges.
  • Organizations experience application sprawl over time caused by many factors that can end up costing more for licenses, operational resources, and maintenance.
  • Organizations are looking for ways to modernize their applications, but they want to develop options without introducing additional risks. Adopting a capability-based approach to assessing applications will enable the IT department to identify opportunities to:
    • Automate tasks through the strategic selection and implementation of applications.
    • Integrate applications that have cross-capability implications.
    • Rationalize the application portfolio.
    • Eliminate redundant or legacy applications that don't deliver enough value.
  • The market availability for software applications dedicated to supporting a specific capability (or set of capabilities) can serve as an indicator of the presence of legacy challenges.

Availability of software applications that support each capability

Red

None: Capability is typically unsupported by applications. The likelihood of legacy applications supporting these capabilities is high.

Yellow

Low: Capability is somewhat supported by applications or is supported by disparate, poorly integrated applications. There is typically a mix of legacy and purchased applications supporting these capabilities.

Light Green

Medium: Capability is moderately supported by applications. Organizations do not have to build their own applications; however, there aren't many solutions to choose from.

Dark Green

High: Capability is well supported by applications. Organizations can choose from a variety of solutions that will meet or exceed their needs.

Figure above: Technology opportunity assessment legend

Application support of key capabilities

The business Capability map is depicted, color-coded to help you to assess the Availability of software applications that support each capability using the legend below.

Note: Illustrative Example

Red

None: Capability is typically unsupported by applications. The likelihood of legacy applications supporting these capabilities is high.

Yellow

Low: Capability is somewhat supported by applications or is supported by disparate, poorly integrated applications. There is typically a mix of legacy and purchased applications supporting these capabilities.

Light Green

Medium: Capability is moderately supported by applications. Organizations do not have to build their own applications; however, there aren't many solutions to choose from.

Dark Green

High: Capability is well supported by applications. Organizations can choose from a variety of solutions that will meet or exceed their needs.

Phase 4

Adopt capability-based strategy planning

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4

1.1 Define the organization's value stream

1.2 Develop a business capability map

2.1 Define the organization's key capabilities

2.2 Develop a strategy map

3.1 Business process review

3.2 Information assessment

3.3 Technology opportunity identification

4.1 Consolidate and prioritize capability gaps

This phase will walk you through the following activities:

  • Assessing capability gaps via a MoSCoW Analysis
  • Prioritizing key capability gaps based on mandate, alignment, and effort

This phase involves the following participants:

  • Business Analysts
  • Business Unit Leads
  • CIO
  • CTO, VP Applications, VP Infrastructure
  • Departmental Executive & Senior managers
  • Portfolio Manager (PMO Director)

K-12 Education Industry Reference Architecture

Step 4.1

Consolidate and prioritize capability gaps

4.1.1 Assess capability gaps via a MoSCoW analysis

Elevate your focus from the IT level to the organization level.

Gather and synthesize the priorities from the people, process, and technology assessments to develop a consolidated view of IT's planning responsibilities.

Consider:

  • How big is the difference between current needs and the assessment of the factors that support each capability?
  • Are there any groups of capabilities that have low scores from the assessments? Consider a root-cause analysis to determine what could be impacting multiple capabilities.

Avoid:

  • Don't forget about healthy capabilities. Enhance the green (low-gap) capabilities once you have resolved the issues with the red and yellow (large-gap) key capabilities.

4.1.2 Prioritize key capability gaps based on mandate, alignment, and effort

Focus on addressing your quick-wins first.

Use your mandate from the organization to inform which capabilities to focus on first. Key capabilities that are easy for you to enhance and provide high value to the organization should be prioritized.

Consider:

  • If a capability has people and process challenges associated with it already, a technology solution alone may not suffice.
  • Prioritize the enhancement of key capabilities with significant gaps that are in your mandated responsibilities.
  • Will the future needs of the business change which capabilities are most important?

Avoid:

  • Don't overstep your mandate. In some organizations IT is expected to have influence over business processes, but that is not always the case. Equally, HR concerns may be perceived as outside the mandate of IT. As such, IT should focus first on the key capabilities that have clear technology gaps to avoid mandate friction.

Consolidate and prioritize capability gaps

  • Direct strategic IT investments based on the collective output of the capability assessments.
  • When combined with a solid understanding of business priorities and IT's mandate, a capability assessment can be the driving force that informs a unified perspective on the sequencing of an organization's strategic IT initiatives.
  • Assessments based on how well a capability is supported by people (via organizational analysis), process (via process review), data (via information assessment) and technology (via application, infrastructure, data, and security improvements) will inform the overall health of a capability, or in other words, the size of a capability gap. This information, when contrasted with the concept of a MoSCoW based effort to value, forms an enhanced decision-making framework that can be used to determine initiative sequencing on a strategic roadmap.
  • If a capability has a large gap (is poorly supported by people, process, data and/or technology), it should be considered high effort, or difficulty, to address. When the capability is well aligned with business priorities and the IT mandate, the capability gap should be considered as high value to address.
  • See the figure on the right. IT leaders should focus their efforts on the lower right quadrant (high value, low effort). In the top-right quadrant (high value, high effort), IT should seek business support to drive the initiative. Capability gaps on the right side of the quadrant overall are good candidates for capability outsourcing.

This is a MoSCoW Analysis for business Capabilities.

Figure above: MoSCoW Analysis for Business Capabilities

MoSCoW capability gap analysis

This is a MoSCoW Analysis for business Capabilities.  to the right of the analysis are two text boxes.  The first contains the following: Value to Effort Impact Ratio: HE = High Effort; LE = Low Effort; HV = High Value; LV = Low Value.  The second box contains the following: We are looking to act on low-effort, high value

MoSCoW analysis for business capabilities

This is a MoSCoW Analysis for business Capabilities.

Note: Illustrative Example

Ranked list of IT implications template

MoSCoW rank

IT implication Value stream impacted Comments/Actions
M Integrate LMS with SS platform Student success
M Implement Power BI Data and analytics
M [Implication] [Value stream]
S [Implication] [Value stream]
S [Implication] [Value stream]
S [Implication] [Value stream]
C [Implication] [Value stream]
C [Implication] [Value stream]
C [Implication] [Value stream]
W [Implication] [Value stream]
W [Implication] [Value stream]
W [Implication] [Value stream]

Next steps: Address key capability gaps

As part of your next steps checklist, leverage reference architecture for priorities that drive measurable top-line organizational outcomes and the unlocking of direct value.

Reference architecture

Enterprise architecture

Business context and IT strategy

Applications strategy

Infrastructure and operations strategy

Document Your Business Architecture

Document Business Goals and Capabilities for Your IT Strategy

Review Your Application Strategy

Build the Business by Building an Infrastructure Roadmap

  • EA strategy
  • Data models
  • EA governance
  • IT strategy
  • Digital strategy
  • IT budget
  • Data quality
  • App dev throughput
  • ERP selection
  • Change mgmt.
  • Asset mgmt.
  • Cloud strategy

Summary of Accomplishment

Problem Solved. You have:

  • Accelerated the building of your organization's capability map by defining the organization's value stream and validating the industry reference architecture.
  • Used business capabilities to define strategic focus by defining the organization's key capabilities and developing a prioritized strategy map.
  • Assessed key capabilities for planning priorities through a review of business processes, information, application, and technology support of key capabilities.
  • Consolidated and prioritized capability gaps for incorporation into priorities.

If you would like additional support, have our analysts guide you through other phases as part of an Info-Tech workshop.

Contact your account representative for more information

workshops@infotech.com

1-888-670-8889

Bibliography

"APQC Process Classification Framework (PCF) - Education - PDF Version 7.2.1." APQC, The Business Architecture Guild. BIZBOK® Guide.
"Education Enterprise Architecture Guidebook." Reform Support Network, Reform Support Network,. ERIC, 2014. NAICS Association.
"NAICS Code: 611110 Elementary and Secondary Schools." NAICS Association, https://www.naics.com/naics-code-description/?code=611110. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.
The Open Group. TOGAF 9. Version 9.1.
Pierce, Glenn L., and Paul F. Cleary. "The K-12 Educational Technology Value Chain: Apps for Kids, Tools for Teachers and Levers for Reform." Education and Information Technologies, vol. 21, no. 4, Springer, 2016, pp. 863–80.
Wood, Laura. "Define the Business Context Needed to Complete Strategic IT Initiatives: 2018 Blueprint". ResearchAndMarkets. 1 Feb. 2018.

About Info-Tech

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A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Get the help you need in this 2-phase advisory process. You'll receive 8 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Model
  • Call 1: Introduce Info-Tech’s Industry reference architecture methodology
  • Call 2: Define and create value streams
  • Call 3: Model Level 1 business capability maps
  • Call 4: Map value streams to business capabilities
  • Call 5: Create a strategy map

Guided Implementation 2: Drive
  • Call 1: Introduce Info-Tech's capability assessment framework
  • Call 2: Review capability assessment map(s)
  • Call 3: Discuss and review prioritization of key capability gaps and plan next steps

Author

Mark Maby

Search Code: 100192
Last Revised: December 9, 2022

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