Penn State Professional Masters Program for Enterprise Architecture Approved by Trustees

Yesterday it was announced that the Penn State professional masters program for enterprise architecture was approved last week by the board of trustees. The program is officially green lit for the industry. This is truly exciting news.

There are a few really good reasons as enterprise architects why we should all be excited about this:

  • A learning path for aspiring architects – today there are limited to no options for EA’s who want to get a professional education for a reputable education institution. Now individuals can start their career in the architecture field rit away with training while before it was a role that was achieved through other roles and lengthy experiences in IT.
  • EA profession is real – with worldwide EA academic programs springing up continuously it is showing that there is not only steady demand for EA but we are at a tipping point of where this discipline is has enough demand and sustainability that an academic base is needed.
  • New perspectives – The EA industry has been dominated by analysts, large vendors, consultancies and some standards bodies to date. With the ground swell of academic institutions participation in this field there is another important perspective that brings with it necessary rigor, repeatability and research principles.

According to Penn State this is the first enterprise architecture masters program in North America and the first online EA program in the world. This program has moved at light speed for academia. They did this in about 2 ½ years compared to other programs elsewhere taking upwards of 7-10 years to develop.


Through the MPS/EA program, professionals will learn how to:

• Understand and apply foundational concepts, issues, and best practices in the field of enterprise architecture.

• Develop and maintain the many components of an effective enterprise architecture.• Evaluate and select appropriate enterprise modeling approaches.

• Understand approaches for measuring and communicating value.

• Explore EA framework evaluation and development.

• Develop an understanding of the different layers of the enterprise information technology landscape.

• Develop an understanding of the best practices for effective leadership, decision making, and communications for enterprise architecture.

• Examine organizational theories and processes of organizational behavior.

• Understand best practices and approaches to manage costs and value of enterprise projects.

• How to link projects to overall corporate strategy.

• Follow interdisciplinary approaches and techniques to manage projects in a modern business environment.

• Deliver a clear advantage in today’s highly competitive and dynamic environment by continuously learning, analyzing, applying new trends, issues, and innovations in the field of enterprise architecture to the overall organization.


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The Evolution of Today’s CIO


Over the past few months I have been presenting to executives around the world and within Microsoft about the evolution of the CIO role and its impact on IT. The materials have gone over extremely well and relate to their concerns. I call it the new breed of the CIO. This post is part of a series of posts that are a distillation of that workshop.


The face of today’s CIO has changed dramatically. Once upon a time the CIO was only concerned about the business of IT, from the development process and implementation to the operation of the IT world. What these CIO’s have learned, and some the hard way, is that isn’t enough. This narrow view has gotten IT in a load of trouble over the years.

There are a number of pressures that are forcing this change. First, there are top down business expectations from business leaders. They expect a more mature IT organization, quicker time to market on solutions and higher business value solutions.  Second, disruptive technology advancements such as cloud, social, big data and mobility are opening up new possibilities for the business. One of which is a new world of work that breaks down the traditional barriers of productivity that enables a deeper understanding of the enterprise and its customers.


Mike Walker's Blog: The Evolution of Today’s CIO


Reacting to these pressures is often difficult for organizations that are equipped both mentally and physically for the traditional way of IT. This new wave of business empowerment and technology innovation changes the traditional game quite a bit.

As an analogy, I think of it from a historical perspective. Remember in the early days of the United States especially in wars like the French and Indian War the British came to the battle in very formal bright uniforms, marching in lines and extreme formality in the engagement of war. The challenge here is that the system they were fighting within had fundamentally changed. They were not in Europe where this style was respected and adhered to but rather in a system where agility, surprise attacks and camouflage was the name of the game. IT is in a similar place right now, we are moving from the old world to the new world. The system has changed and we must adapt or face a defeat.


This has manifested itself  in many ways, the first being how consumers leverage our products and services. In 2009, the Better Business Bureau in Vancouver Canada listed Computers and Technology as the number one complaint across all areas.

Mike Walker's Blog: The Evolution of Today’s CIO

As shown in the report, computer software and services are worse than those pesky car salesmen hunting you down on their lots. We not only see this from our consumer base but also from within our four walls. It is easier to not look at but there are systemic issues with the business of IT as it is today. As an example, the Standish Group released a report stating that 50% of all technology Initiatives are a waste of money. So what is the CIO to do? Stick with the status quo or make a change? It’s time for a change in how IT is operated.

It used to be that aligning IT with the Business was strategically in vogue for CIOs. And it still is. However there is a fundamental shift elevating the modern role of the CIO to that of not only doing the business of IT, but also transforming and innovating along the way. With 54% of mid-market CIOs viewing IT as the critical enabler of business and organizational vision, CEOs are now looking to the CIO as the trusted enabler, the mainspring for IT solutions that meet the demands of the business, in real-time.


Mike Walker's Blog: The Evolution of Today’s CIO



The traditional lens of the CIO focuses on providing technology platforms that “allow” the business to function while aligning IT priorities with business priorities, reducing solution cost and ensuring proper controls are in place. This is the CIO as Optimizer, immersed and concerned with driving internal IT process, efficiency and responsiveness, keeping pace with the needs of the business.

Today however brings a new set of business pressures that stares the CIO as Optimizer squarely in the eye and asks the question: “How are you helping the business adapt and cope with accelerating changes in market conditions and technology disruptors?” The answer lies within the new-fashioned role of the Transformative CIO.

The 2010 State of the CIO Survey provided by CIO magazine highlighted that nearly nine out of 10 (89 percent) anticipate assuming some additional area of non-IT leadership responsibility three to five years from now, compared to 61 percent who are currently responsible in a leadership capacity for one or more non-IT areas of the business. Security (55 percent), strategy (49 percent), and risk management (41 percent) are most frequently cited by IT leaders as areas they expect to assume leadership responsibility for in the longer term.

The Transformative CIO will help in this fashion by striving to partner with the Business, truly advancing the business relationship beyond pacing alignment. He becomes an expert of industry solutions; understanding, rationalizing and recommending strategies that meet the ever-changing demands of the Business. And as council and advisor to the CEO, he empathizes and takes action on his concerns.

Mike Walker's Blog: The Evolution of Today’s CIO



As CIOs gain a foothold with the Business thought process, maturing strategic business value through the IT lens means continuing to find new ways of delivering value, service and cost containment. Enter the CIO as Innovator. He sees that in order to support business growth, he must be out ahead of the game solving real strategic business problems through innovation.

The new CIO also provides clarity of IT utility by understanding how competition can affect the company and by making strategic big bets on emerging technologies that are directly in line with business goals. He truly believes in a business first organization. In fact, fully 70% of the CIOs surveyed in the 2010 State of the CIO report said long-term strategic thinking and planning will be most critically needed in the coming year.

CIOs are starting to realize this in a substantial way. CIOs are actively moving their focus to not only the transformational areas in partnership with the business but also in an innovative role as well. The 2010 State of the CIO Survey also includes an interesting point that 54% of CIO’s will focus their time and energy on driving business innovation. That is a substantial amount of time for any role, especially the CIO. This will completely change the tone of the IT organization.

The modern CIO is one who not only understands the mechanical aspects of IT but also harmonizes the elements of IT culture, business maturity and industry innovation. And by having a seat at the business decision table, embracing enterprise architecture and running IT as a utility, he or she can incubate these elements in to a set of enablers the business can count on.

The pressure to deliver beyond the traditional role of the CIO is evolving in to a key asset for CEOs. A blend of CIO as Optimizer, Transformer and Innovator provides a powerful profile mix that amidst the constant of change will emerge a stronger and more service-focused business partnership with IT. After all, without IT there is no Business. Or is it the other way around?


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Speaking at the Troux EA Conference

Mike Walker's Blog: Speaking at the Troux EA ConferenceAs some of you know, there will be another Troux Worldwide Conference in Austin, Texas on March 28-29, 2012. As some of you may of noticed from my blog and my tweets, I really enjoyed listening to the customer sessions and talking to the Enterprise Architects at the event. Since there was a ton of value last year I decided that I will be attending this year. Additionally, I was humbled to be asked to be on the industry panel again for the second year in a row.

If you are in the Austin area or coming to the conference and want to meet up please reach out.


Below is the panel session description and speakers.

Unifying Business & IT: Pragmatic Application of EPM as the Next Management Discipline
Panelists: Warren Ritchie, former CIO – VW Group of America,  Mike Walker, Chief Architect – Microsoft, Angela Yochem, CTO – AstraZeneca, Henry Peyret, Principal Analyst – Forrester Research, Bill Cason, CTO – Troux


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