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Modus, the method

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Opus, the product

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HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland



Since 1998, the HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland, has become a great source of skills, ideas, innovation, creativity and knowledge. With its 28 schools of higher education, the HES-SO plays a preeminent role in the socio-economic and cultural development of the seven cantons of Western Switzerland and is a recognized player within the Swiss and international landscape of higher education.

With 20,000 students, the HES-SO is the largest HES in Switzerland. Its various study streams and research activities fall into six faculties: Design and Fine Arts; Business, Management and Services; Engineering and Architecture; Music and Performing Arts; Health; and Social Work.

The HES-SO provides tertiary university-level education, centered on practical experience, which primarily follows on from a basic professional training course. These courses lead to the award of an HES-SO Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Postgraduate studies and professional development are also provided.

The HES-SO carries out applied research and development projects, the results of which are integrated into its teaching. It provides services to third parties and ensures exchanges with professional spheres.

The HES-SO encourages the transfer of knowledge, technology and artistic practices. Multidisciplinary, it is turned towards innovation and creativity. It contributes to the broadening and enhancing of knowledge for the benefit of students as well as society. It also makes sure that it ensures sustainable economic, social, ecological, environmental and cultural development and takes the bilingualism of the cantons concerned into account.

In the context of a new agreement ratified in 2013 by all the governments and parliaments of the partner cantons of Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais and Vaud, the HES-SO set up a new academic organization.

It is in this context that the information systems department at HES-SO began to draw up an IS strategy and put in place a project portfolio to develop the parts of the information system that respond to the priorities set by the Board of Education and the management teams at the schools of higher education.

In HES-SO’s situation, we find ourselves in a federation of Information Systems interconnected between themselves. HES-SO’s IS strategy is concerned with this federation which characterizes the HES-SO. The measures put forward center on the shared part and the connections between the shared system and the information systems of the schools of higher education.

In order to be able to make an IT master plan available, aligned with the Board of Education’s 2015-2020 plan of intent, we decided to define the objectives for the horizon 2020, then to focus on a more concrete roadmap for the first half of this period. This is why the IT master plan is split into two main phases: that is to say the period 2015-2017 for the implementation of the key measures; then the period 2018-2020 whose priorities should be defined during the process.

Motivations for joining the initiative for an open method

To carry out this work, we based ourselves on many existing documents, on interviews with various actors, then on the many presentations given to governing bodies and main actors, in order to reach an agreement on the objectives as well as on the necessary means, both human and financial.

Later, we drew up the business architecture in function of what existed already and the expression of needs. This business architecture was transformed into a target information systems architecture. We used Praxeme for this part of the process. Thanks to our IT city planner, who had already worked with the method before being hired by HES-SO, we were able to structure our ideas and express them in a clear and precise manner. This was very important for the work done to inform and convince others, essential in a complex and decentralized organization like ours. In the end, the strategy was adopted, as well as the project portfolio for the period 2015-2017. Evangelizing work among the IT directors of the schools of higher education, which are part of the HES-SO, is being carried out in parallel in order to guarantee that we all speak the same language and that we use the same approach to the IT city planning work and the evolution of our information systems.

Hervé Le Pezennec, Lausanne, 18.12.2015

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Page last modified on January 13, 2016, at 09:15 AM EST