CAUDIT Hexagon

Higher Education Reference Models

Higher Education Reference Models

The Higher Education Reference Models provide standardised business and data architectures that communicate a generalised view of how higher education institutions are organised and the information they use. The HERM also include a Business Model Canvas that can support scenario-based planning and is useful for exploring and communicating an institution's specific strategic drivers and goals.

These resources can be used by institutions within higher education in a variety of ways, such as a starter kit to accelerate an institution's business and data architecture, a reference point to explore commonalities and differentiators for the institution, and a communication tool to engage stakeholders.

The Higher Education Reference Models help members to:

  • increase the value and efficiency of their architecture teams
  • describe a 'whole of institution' view to colleagues within their institution
  • facilitate the exchange of architectural knowledge and good practice in the sector
  • support interoperability and collaboration between member organisations
  • improve engagement with industry in major projects and initiatives

Community Involvement


Version 1 of these models was launched in 2016, following the generous agreement between FromHereOn ( and CAUDIT. The CAUDIT Enterprise Architecture Community of Practice is responsible for the curation and evolution of the Higher Education Reference Models. Subsequently, Version 2 of the Business Capability Model was released in May 2019 and Version 2.5.0 was launched in October 2020 with a consolidated refresh of both the Data Reference Model and the Business Capability Model. The Version 2.6.0 release made in September 2021 introduced the Business Model Canvas and was accompanied by a global launch that recognised the warm collaboration between CAUDIT, UCISA, and EDUCAUSE guiding the future of the HERM. These collaborations were formalised by joint statements of intent countersigned between CAUDIT and UCISA and between CAUDIT and EDUCAUSE.

The latest release of the Higher Education Reference Models, Version 2.6.1, has been further developed through enduring and constructive collaborations and influence from EUNIS.

Community Involvement

The ongoing development and enhancement of the Higher Education Reference Models is community-driven, and all suggestions and feedback are warmly and always encouraged. Queries about the CAUDIT Higher Education Reference Models can be directed to:

Nigel Foxwelljeff kennedy
James Cook UniversityThe University of Auckland

Additionally, international colleagues are encouraged to access copies of the HERM resources and to engage with the use and ongoing enhancement of the HERM as follows:

  • UCISA members through the UCISA Enterprise Architecture Special Interest Group;
  • EDUCAUSE members through the ITANA Enterprise, Business, & Technical Architects Community Group
  • EUNIS members through the EUNIS Enterprise Architecture Special Interest Group
License and Usage

The CAUDIT Higher Education Reference Models are provided free of charge to higher education institutions under the Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution- NonCommercial- ShareAlike license (i.e., CC BY-NC-SA,

The reference models may not be bundled, sublicensed or used for commercial purpose, or passed on to other organisations. You are free to reproduce, customise, and share, in whole or part, the artifacts published here under this licence. By downloading this material you are agreeing:

  • to make any modifications available for consideration to include in future versions of the Higher Education Reference Models
  • to attribute CAUDIT in any material produced from these artifacts
  • acknowledge CAUDIT in any presentations of work based on these artifacts
  • to share the material published here, or any derivatives you produce, under the same conditions
Access the Models

The reference models published here are provided in formats that will allow them to be loaded into common modelling and repository tools. The entire distribution of the Higher Education Reference Models is provided in a single ZIP archive.

Access to the models by CAUDIT Member organisations CAUDIT Member organisations can access the models using Tuakiri or AAF authentication. You will be prompted to log-in using your everyday organisational username/password. Download the models here.

Access by international higher education organisations To date the models have been distributed to more than five hundred institutions worldwide. The HERM distribution has also been provided to some higher-education information-technology associations to make available by natural access to their own members. Accordingly, you can access the HERM easily if your institution is a member of:

  • UCISA, send a request by email to
  • EDUCAUSE, visit the EDUCAUSE Library and login
  • EUNIS, send a request by email to

If your institution is not a member of one of those associations then you are encouraged to engage with your local Enterprise Architecture community and to request HERM access from CAUDIT by sending an email to

About the Business Reference Model

The Higher Education Business Reference Model describes a standard set of business architecture elements relevant to higher education. It can be used by business stakeholders, enterprise architects and technology strategists to discuss the effectiveness of the organisation, its needs and challenges. As of Version 2.6.1, the Business Reference Model comprises a Business Capability Model and a new Business Model Canvas.

Business Capability Model Files

  • HERM-BCM-V261-model.pdf = poster
  • HERM-BCM-V261-catalogue.xlsx = catalogue of descriptions
  • HERM-BCM-V261-changelog.xlsx = changelog from previous version
  • HERM-BCM-V261-archimate-beta.archimate = beta version ArchiMate
  • HERM-BCM-V261-visio-model.vsdx = beta version Visio

Business Model Canvas Files

  • HERM-BMC-V261-canvas.pdf = poster
  • HERM-BMC-V261-supporting.pdf = supporting explanatory notes
  • HERM-BMC-V261-visio-beta.vsdx = beta version Visio

About the Data Reference Model

The Higher Education Enterprise Architecture Data Reference Model describes a standard set of conceptual data architecture elements relevant to higher education. It provides a common language for business stakeholders, enterprise architects and technology strategists to communicate clearly.

Data Reference Model Files

  • HERM-DRM-V261-model.pdf = poster
  • HERM-DRM-V261-catalogue.xlsx = catalogue of descriptions
  • HERM-DRM-V261-changelog.xlsx = changelog from previous version
  • HERM-DRM-V261-archimate-beta.archimate = beta version ArchiMate
  • HERM-DRM-V261-visio-beta.vsdx = beta version Visio

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