Enterprise Architecture Conference draws government, academic leaders

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State’s Center for Enterprise Architecture (CEA) held their annual meeting last month at the Nittany Lion Inn, convening thought leaders, industry professionals, and senior government officials to discuss emerging trends in the growing field.   

“Enterprise architecture (EA) isn’t something that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue, especially for undergraduates, so having this meeting on campus was great to raise awareness of the field,” said Rosalie Ocker, associate teaching professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) and director of the CEA.

The Center was founded to educate and promote the application of enterprise architecture in all fields. By designing and implementing information technology systems, an organization’s overall success is critically tied to their enterprise architecture. Without intuitive interfaces, management systems or strong cyber defenses, businesses can find themselves coming to a complete halt.

While often unnoticed, the molding of these business and technology infrastructures shape almost all industries, including the federal government. 

That was the message from Scott A. Bernard, chief enterprise architect in the Office of Management and Budget for the federal government, who delivered the keynote address and discussed the far-reaching impact of the field.

“Our area of influence is growing, but so are our threats as a result,” he commented during his speech.

Bernard detailed his efforts to construct a more agile architecture for the federal government, which has notoriously been stagnant due to legacy programs and systems.

“I’m so glad to see programs like this at Penn State because we need [enterprise] architects in the government,” he said. “Penn State has had a very strong EA program for more than a decade and a strong iSchool in the College of IST.”  

While IST already offers an MPS degree in Enterprise Architecture through Penn State World Campus, IST is focused on bringing the field more into the college’s undergraduate curriculum. After the day’s presentations, undergraduates got a unique look at this effort by participating in a panel event and reception. Ocker said the opportunity to trade insights with alumni about career opportunities offered a rare view into the industry.

“The no-stress environment for undergraduate students to interact with these meeting attendees was phenomenal,” said Ocker. “It really showed these students the kind of career they could have.”

“This EA program is an incredible opportunity, which I am very proud to be a part of,” said Wade Saunders, who is currently earning his MPS in EA through World Campus. “Without it, I’m certain I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to speak with [someone as influential as] Dr. Bernard!”

The Center plans to expand the program in coming years to engage more students and organizations in government, industry and academia.

Concluded Ocker, “Enterprise architecture, especially its profound impact on cybersecurity, will only become more important as time goes on!”

Last Updated October 19, 2017