To say the path to the February adoption of three information technology
architecture documents (Document 2: Designing Emorys
IT Architecture, Security Architecture Domain
and Directory Services Domain) by Emorys Council
on Information Resources and Technology (CIRT) was an easy task
would be like saying that creating a dictionary is like playing
a game of Scrabble.
Just ask Peter Day, emerging technology specialist in the Information
Technology Division (ITD), whose technical editing expertise was
called on for this massive and complex project for the better part
of two years.
It took three to four months of meetings to produce an initial
draft, then eight to nine months to obtain and incorporate feedback
and polish to a final draft, Day said. Then eight to
10 months of further vetting and delay before adoption.
Total time: 1622 months, and that was just for Document 2.
The other two represent more than a year of work from initial draft
Emorys IT systems are continually changing as they adapt
to the requirements of teaching, research, public service and patient
care, and as they are kept current with new and evolving technologies.
The architecture documents provide infrastructure developers with
information on how to shape their individual IT choices so that
they function in concert with the long-term development of the overall
Emory IT structure. The documents also are helpful for anyone interested
in understanding how Emorys IT principles support teaching,
research and public service goals.
Document 2 provides general principles for an IT infrastructure
that can respond in the needed time frame to support Emorys
mission, goals and priorities. The security and directory services
architectures provide specific guidelines, based on Document 2 principles,
for the technologies, standards, standard products and configurations
needed for these domains.
The Security Architecture Domain includes the processes,
data feeds and deployed hardware and software that serve to electronically
protect, preserve and control access to Emorys IT assets.
The Directory Services Domain offers a Universitywide
means to find information about Emory people, places and things,
to which Emory has determined that authorized people or IT systems
should have access from any location on the Emory network or the
A total of 39 individuals representing 17 different units contributed
to the document creation process under the leadership of CIRT co-chairs
Woody Hunter and Donald Harris, interim provost and vice provost
for information technology, respectively, and members of CIRT and
its IT architecture subcommittee.
As work progressed, drafts of the documents were provided at several
points to the Emory community for feedback. Reconciling the security
architecture principles with those in the other two documents generated
the most discussion. The outcome of that discussion affirmed the
value of making known the existence of information without impacting
control of access to it.
We seek to keep up with our competitors in higher education,
Day said. New ideas clamor to be implemented; people continually
add new IT systems and capabilities and work to make the IT systems
interact. The purpose of the IT architecture is to provide a plan
and principles for organizing the infrastructure so that it can
respond to needed change in the required time framethat is,
fast enough. The benefit for everyone is an increase in responsiveness.
For more information on CIRT visit www.emory.edu/ITD/VICEPROVOST/CIRT.html.
To view and/or download the documents, visit Emorys Enterprise
Information Technology Architecture website: http://www.emory.edu/EITA.