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The goal of the Cornerstone initiative, begun in the 1990s, was to develop a principles-based architecture linking technology to business needs as the foundation for a new generation of administrative information systems. The Cornerstone framework continues to provide direction for administrative information systems and technology at Penn.

The Cornerstone Framework

  • Principles - Penn's basic beliefs about the use of information technology to achieve University goals. Dealing with data, applications, infrastructure, and organization, the principles serve as guides to action and a mechanism for clarifying and resolving conflicts.

  • Business Reengineering - analysis of administrative processes for cost-effectiveness and responsiveness, across organizational boundaries.

  • Architectures - based on the principles, these provide a structured framework for administrative information technology decisions. The architectures are living documents, reevaluated and maintained as part of the planning process.
    • Information Architecture - categories of data the University needs to do its business, the activities that use the data, and the interactions amond data and activities.
    • Business Systems Architecture - the comprehensive set of business applications and data stores that are implied by the information architecture.
    • Technical Architecture.
  • Standards - these give flesh to the principles and architectures.

Background Information


Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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