Upside for Employees
by David Baum
At the Oregon Department of Human Services and Oregon Health Authority, Chief Information Officer Carolyn Lawson is not just interested in organizational transformations; she’s also interested in personal ones. Training in enterprise architecture (EA) has become a fundamental building block for launching new careers.
At the outset of the health insurance exchange project, Lawson sent approximately 20 people to an intensive three-day training course—an EA boot camp, as she calls it. Out of that group, four people went on to become certified enterprise architects, and the rest now serve as EA delegates.
“We have created an environment where enterprise architecture is something to reach for and value,” she says. “It’s not just about how to implement technology, but also how to set up and think through new business functions that never existed before.”
In Lawson’s experience, EA provides a level of maturity for the technical staff, because their primary focus is not on the technologies themselves but rather on the needs of the business and how to meet those needs with technology.
“Extensive training is helping people to reach for what they’re interested in, to find their own voice,” she concludes. “We couldn’t do that if we had chosen to bring in a systems integrator to replace our legacy systems, the way that many other state governments do. Instead we decided to develop that expertise in house. There’s a new frontier here and lots of game-changing things that people can do.”
David Baum is a freelance business, technology, and lifestyle writer in Santa Barbara, California.