HERM - Higher Education Reference Model

Higher Education Reference Model (HERM) is a reference architecture, which describes the operating model, capabilities, and data entities of higher education institutions. The most important one of these is the capability model, which describes the capabilities needed by the university to fulfill its mission. In this context, capability means the ability of an organization to perform a particular activity, and achieve targets set for it. Capability model helps to formulate the big picture of the operations of Aalto University and using the model it is possible to link for example strategic milestones, roadmaps, projects and applications.
HERM model

About HERM

HERM Capability Model supports Aalto University's strategy by viewing the university's operations as a collection of capabilities that can be adjusted in response to the demands of the business environment. Capabilities describe WHAT an organization capable of doing. A Business capability is a combination of people, processes, knowledge, and technology that are necessary to achieve the university's goals.

Using the Capability Model, the university's operations can be assessed from various perspectives, such as the strategic significance of the operation, maturity level, operational pain points, distribution of investments, and organizational structure. The model allows the university's goals to be traced to the information, technology, and other resources needed to support them. In addition to capabilities, the model describes value chains through which the university creates value in its core areas of activity.

At the high level, the model can be divided into core capabilities and enabling capabilities. Core capabilities can be further divided into learning and teaching capabilities, and research capabilities, and they are grouped under the corresponding value chain segment. Enabling capabilities support core capabilities throughout value chains and enable the continuity of university operations.

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Implemeting capability model in Aalto

The capability model has been implemented within the Aalto University by combining capabilities with various pieces of information, such as CMDB, project portfolio, or roadmaps. By using capabilities, it is possible to create, for example, internal views of roadmaps that show the development targets related to different capabilities. However, capabilities primarily serve as a connecting factor between different sources of information, allowing for a comprehensive understanding of dependencies between different sources of information.

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