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Enterprise System Planning


The Enterprise Planning Group (EPG) is a group of functional/business and OIT representatives who are charged (see attached) to work together, through a common methodology and toolset, to lead the institution’s prioritization and decision-making activities as they relate to the system-wide use of - and changes to – enterprise-class technologies.

The importance of the approach that is outlined below is to ensure that OIT delivers the functional/business capabilities that are needed.  This approach enables an initiative to be managed to a fixed outcome where all participants have a common expectation and a clear understanding of their respective roles.  The success of this approach relies on a very close relationship between the function/business and OIT. This relationship ensures a thorough understanding of the functional/business objective so that the technical delivery is precise.

Since its implementation, this EPG approach has realized a work initiative success rate greater than 95%.

Approach Elements

The EPG approach is a method that operates within the following framework of general elements:
  • OIT will engage with the institution’s business process ‘owner’ of the processes that require changes, improvements, and/or technical initiatives in support of institutional strategies.   In the absence of an ‘owner’, OIT will attempt to find one.
  • Initiatives, plans, and projects are driven by decisions that are informed with both qualitative and quantitative analysis and data/metrics.
  • Analysis is initially focused on the desired outcome followed by processes that are or will be used to achieve the outcome (requirements).  System selection and/or choice follow this process analysis.
  • The system selection/choice approach is to examine existing systems and existing capabilities to find solutions that are currently available - then focus on integration as needed.  This system selection approach is designed to avoid duplication and/or to build systems unnecessarily.
  • EPG activities will be deliberate and reflected as elements in work-plans.
  • A work-plan is a collection of work activities - or 'statements' - with associated resource skill-set needs and time projections.
  • An EPG work-plan is a set of activities that are intended to support a business/function ‘vertical’.  Appearance of activities on a work-plan is the result of business/function and OIT agreement on that selection of activities.  (Success rate for agreed-upon activities is better than 95%.)
  • OIT will facilitate the work for a collection/portfolio of ‘verticals’ that ensures coordination and optimization of work-plan and other related activities.


The success of this approach and the efficiency and effectiveness achieved as part of the work process is predicated on well understood roles that range from leadership in decision-making, business and technical analysis, to those of very specific technical skill-sets.  Although the following roles are defined, they apply only in those initiatives where they are required.  This is generally based on size, scope, and importance.

Executive Sponsor: The person or group of persons who are ultimately accountable for the function/business.  This is typically a senior level executive who has responsibility for ensuring that this function/business area succeeds.  Examples of people that are typically in this role are Vice Presidents responsible for a management function.

Sponsor:  The person(s) who is appointed to provide day-to-day oversight and direction to the project/initiative.  Typical technology projects call for a business and a technology sponsor.

Functional/Business Process Owner:  The person who is able to articulate clear functional/business needs with respect to the function’s/business’ strategic direction.  This is also the person who is positioned to make enterprise-affecting process decisions.
Functional/Business Process Owner Designee.  Appointed on behalf of the business owner if required.

The roles that are described above are designed to work together in collaboration and partnership by practicing the aforementioned elements.  This approach adheres to a best-practice project / initiative management methodology that delivers results based on strategy alignment and informed decision-making (Figure 1).

Figure 1

It should be noted that sponsorship exists for the EPG body of work rather than for each initiative.  The EPG approach, in this case, consists of functional/business process owners or their designees that work very closely with OIT senior managers who are charged to facilitate the approach elements outlined above.  This body of work, and the relationships that exist, can best be illustrated in the graphic below (Figure 2).

Figure 2


This EPG approach is designed to move initiatives forward in a planful, deliberate way through partnership and collaboration.  It is focused on critically thinking about the right initiative portfolio/work pipe-line and is informed by qualitative and quantitative measures and information.  Finally, the EPG approach is focused on knowing enough about the work prior to beginning so that initiatives can be approached with a common set of expectations that are based on managing to a fixed and quantifiable outcome.