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We have quite a number of universities and higher education organisations from across the globe using Essential to support their EA Teams. They advise that the price point of EA Tools has been a barrier to them getting a tool previously, and so they have not been able to gain the benefits of a tool – doing enterprise architecture with a hand tied behind your back in effect. Typically, we see that universities have a lower budget and smaller EA Teams than major corporates but Essential, with its low price point, has now opened up the possibility of using a good EA Management Tool despite those factors.

In terms of budget, if you need to prove value before securing any budget, then we do have a free open-source version of Essential, as well as the low-cost Essential Cloud commercial version. The meta model and the views are shared, although the installation and data management in open source are not as elegant as in the Cloud version. Combined with our Essential Foundation Launchpad, which provides a quick start to capturing the data required to understand common starting points like rationalisation, lifecycle and risk management, business support, it provides a good starting point for many universities, as well as other organisations.

In terms of doing enterprise architecture with a small team, there is some useful insight in our blog “Small to medium-sized business can benefit from EA – here’s how” which discusses approaches to enterprise architecture, and how to deliver success, with a small team.

We’ve also established a Higher Education User Group with the purpose of guiding development of Essential to meet the specific needs of our higher education and university clients. Hot topics that we are currently working on with the user group include building roadmaps and strategic planning, capability maturity modelling, value stream modelling and governance models. The sessions are focused on how Essential can support universities to get value in these areas and identifying changes we can implement in Essential that are specific to the needs of our university clients. The universities involved also share ideas and best practise, the sessions are chaired by the EA leads from the University of Sydney and New York University.

If you are interested in starting out with the free open source version of Essential you can download it here; the Essential in a Box is the easiest option to install as a try out, but we also have versions available for a multi-user installation, note that some technical ability is required.

If you would like to join the University User Group or discuss Essential Cloud, contact us here.

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