Government Technology

Enterprise Architecture Demystified



September 24, 2008 By

    • into the state options and the states talk about what they have available and that leads to the local providers. You can take any conversation and if you ignore the federal, state and local alignment you are ignoring the options available to provide the overall solution which is to provide service to the citizen."

      Roth's suggestion: to take advantage of the work being done at the federal level and align state and local efforts with it.

      Enterprise Architecture's Future

      Enterprise architecture has suffered from a general misunderstanding which has often relegated it to an afterthought. Much of that has to do with the field's difficulty with clearly and succinctly explaining its value. According to Roth, part of the issue is the problem of how to measure enterprise architecture's value because enterprise architecture's value "is calculated differently than if you were showing the business value of a single system to fulfill a business need." Still, Roth sees improvement including changes in his own state. "We've got quite a few things going and we're learning every year how to work across state agencies and work with local government and business partners and that's probably the most exciting thing I see out here," said Roth. "Ten years ago, you'd almost never see state and local at the same conversation or anyone outside the individual agency but in the last five years I have been involved in a huge number of cross-agency initiatives and that is probably the most exciting thing because it allows us to really understand all the parties needed for process improvement."

      Roth also gives kudos for the work being done by the federal government. "I like EA and the efforts the feds are doing," Roth commented. "We leverage a lot of their papers and things out here so I appreciate it. I encourage the federal community to keep their efforts going because it is leveraged by a lot states out here . They may not see that but it is appreciated -- we depend on them to bring a lot of best practices."

      Whether enterprise architecture grows as a practice or fades, the need it attempts to fill will continue: to drive technology decisions based on business-side needs. It is, after all, the agency's purpose, services and products which are important, not the technology used to get the job done.


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Comments

J. Zepp    |    Commented September 30, 2008

EA's is predicated on a naive world view that ignores the dynamic and evolving environment for information needs and technologies, which is further complicated by the decentralized decisionmaking and year-to-year budget cycles that public agencies must cope with. Perhaps in a steady state, ideal world there would be enough time and resources to develop and successfully implement a broad EA plan. But this approach simply seems to be a rehash of the Grand Design projects that failed so miserably in the 1980's. It's a shame that this profession has learned so little from past mistakes. One possibility not explored in this article is that the low regard for EA could be deserved. Improving government through better IT capabilities is a worthy goal. However, a more practical and realistic approach may be incremental change that satisfies users' immediate needs and seizes on the occasional opportunities for broader impacts.

J. Zepp    |    Commented September 30, 2008

EA's is predicated on a naive world view that ignores the dynamic and evolving environment for information needs and technologies, which is further complicated by the decentralized decisionmaking and year-to-year budget cycles that public agencies must cope with. Perhaps in a steady state, ideal world there would be enough time and resources to develop and successfully implement a broad EA plan. But this approach simply seems to be a rehash of the Grand Design projects that failed so miserably in the 1980's. It's a shame that this profession has learned so little from past mistakes. One possibility not explored in this article is that the low regard for EA could be deserved. Improving government through better IT capabilities is a worthy goal. However, a more practical and realistic approach may be incremental change that satisfies users' immediate needs and seizes on the occasional opportunities for broader impacts.

J. Zepp    |    Commented September 30, 2008

EA's is predicated on a naive world view that ignores the dynamic and evolving environment for information needs and technologies, which is further complicated by the decentralized decisionmaking and year-to-year budget cycles that public agencies must cope with. Perhaps in a steady state, ideal world there would be enough time and resources to develop and successfully implement a broad EA plan. But this approach simply seems to be a rehash of the Grand Design projects that failed so miserably in the 1980's. It's a shame that this profession has learned so little from past mistakes. One possibility not explored in this article is that the low regard for EA could be deserved. Improving government through better IT capabilities is a worthy goal. However, a more practical and realistic approach may be incremental change that satisfies users' immediate needs and seizes on the occasional opportunities for broader impacts.

J. Zepp    |    Commented September 30, 2008

EA's is predicated on a naive world view that ignores the dynamic and evolving environment for information needs and technologies, which is further complicated by the decentralized decisionmaking and year-to-year budget cycles that public agencies must cope with. Perhaps in a steady state, ideal world there would be enough time and resources to develop and successfully implement a broad EA plan. But this approach simply seems to be a rehash of the Grand Design projects that failed so miserably in the 1980's. It's a shame that this profession has learned so little from past mistakes. One possibility not explored in this article is that the low regard for EA could be deserved. Improving government through better IT capabilities is a worthy goal. However, a more practical and realistic approach may be incremental change that satisfies users' immediate needs and seizes on the occasional opportunities for broader impacts.

Mossar    |    Commented November 18, 2008

I agree with J. Zepp about EA being predicated on a naive world view; I would add that this fact is by choice. I have practiced EA for decades and I've concluded that the two main reason for its acceptance is one, denial and two, mental constipation. The reasons driving an EA project differ by the environment in which one lives; in the Private Sector, ROI is the driving force and results are expected quickly, so introducing EA into the business becomes fragmented. In the Public Sector, there is none; the mentality that exist is constricted and any amount of reason requires strong softeners to produce fluidity. Government is plagued by continuity blindness and the inability to predict if a given initiative will produced the desired result. Simply because every effort is self-sustaining and lacks inner connection with similar processes. Most common is that in a given agency, businesses do not understand the power of the data resource and how to develop a fluidity among related processes; in fact, individual processes do not know there exist other processes that can easily share resources thus reduce costs and be efficient and productive. Management knows of the shortcomings but don't bring these out for fear either require lengthy involvements or effort will hamper their retirement plans. Clamor from lower ranks go unheeded, these are dwarfed and fall into the 'as-is-vain' and don't insist. Regardless, an EA effort must start by the simplification of the business; IT involvement is to capture the definition of a business and the interlaced data resource tying processes. Functional decomposition practices define the business functions and the resources necessary to accomplish each business function. One very prominent aspect of this is the absence of software and firmware for a given solution; these definitions are independent and must be isolated from a given product, they must rely on the definition process. Nothing else. EA Project team must be trained in this methodology and must the approval of upper management and vested with the required authority to engage in the investigative process. Business lines personnel must be instructed that participation is essential and necessary regardless of other commitments. Seriousness must prevail at-all times so focus is not lost. if necessary, sequestering during the definition process may be necessary in order to make gains and maintain continuity. This not a light issue to deal with and businesses must embrace the fact that the only way to understand own affairs is to dedicate the time to extract the knowledge its employees own. It requires the majority's participation and their contribution must be assured. The participation far exceeds the expense by the return through time. It is said that the Federal Government has taken the lead but one thing is traditional in averting participation is the dictatorial attitude of the feds which contradicts any good intentions with ridance or lack of participation that slows all efforts. State and Local governments' attitude is to 'show' me or no dice. EA to be successful, all entities must show willingness to participate and realize the benefits to be harvested.

Mossar    |    Commented November 18, 2008

I agree with J. Zepp about EA being predicated on a naive world view; I would add that this fact is by choice. I have practiced EA for decades and I've concluded that the two main reason for its acceptance is one, denial and two, mental constipation. The reasons driving an EA project differ by the environment in which one lives; in the Private Sector, ROI is the driving force and results are expected quickly, so introducing EA into the business becomes fragmented. In the Public Sector, there is none; the mentality that exist is constricted and any amount of reason requires strong softeners to produce fluidity. Government is plagued by continuity blindness and the inability to predict if a given initiative will produced the desired result. Simply because every effort is self-sustaining and lacks inner connection with similar processes. Most common is that in a given agency, businesses do not understand the power of the data resource and how to develop a fluidity among related processes; in fact, individual processes do not know there exist other processes that can easily share resources thus reduce costs and be efficient and productive. Management knows of the shortcomings but don't bring these out for fear either require lengthy involvements or effort will hamper their retirement plans. Clamor from lower ranks go unheeded, these are dwarfed and fall into the 'as-is-vain' and don't insist. Regardless, an EA effort must start by the simplification of the business; IT involvement is to capture the definition of a business and the interlaced data resource tying processes. Functional decomposition practices define the business functions and the resources necessary to accomplish each business function. One very prominent aspect of this is the absence of software and firmware for a given solution; these definitions are independent and must be isolated from a given product, they must rely on the definition process. Nothing else. EA Project team must be trained in this methodology and must the approval of upper management and vested with the required authority to engage in the investigative process. Business lines personnel must be instructed that participation is essential and necessary regardless of other commitments. Seriousness must prevail at-all times so focus is not lost. if necessary, sequestering during the definition process may be necessary in order to make gains and maintain continuity. This not a light issue to deal with and businesses must embrace the fact that the only way to understand own affairs is to dedicate the time to extract the knowledge its employees own. It requires the majority's participation and their contribution must be assured. The participation far exceeds the expense by the return through time. It is said that the Federal Government has taken the lead but one thing is traditional in averting participation is the dictatorial attitude of the feds which contradicts any good intentions with ridance or lack of participation that slows all efforts. State and Local governments' attitude is to 'show' me or no dice. EA to be successful, all entities must show willingness to participate and realize the benefits to be harvested.

Mossar    |    Commented November 18, 2008

I agree with J. Zepp about EA being predicated on a naive world view; I would add that this fact is by choice. I have practiced EA for decades and I've concluded that the two main reason for its acceptance is one, denial and two, mental constipation. The reasons driving an EA project differ by the environment in which one lives; in the Private Sector, ROI is the driving force and results are expected quickly, so introducing EA into the business becomes fragmented. In the Public Sector, there is none; the mentality that exist is constricted and any amount of reason requires strong softeners to produce fluidity. Government is plagued by continuity blindness and the inability to predict if a given initiative will produced the desired result. Simply because every effort is self-sustaining and lacks inner connection with similar processes. Most common is that in a given agency, businesses do not understand the power of the data resource and how to develop a fluidity among related processes; in fact, individual processes do not know there exist other processes that can easily share resources thus reduce costs and be efficient and productive. Management knows of the shortcomings but don't bring these out for fear either require lengthy involvements or effort will hamper their retirement plans. Clamor from lower ranks go unheeded, these are dwarfed and fall into the 'as-is-vain' and don't insist. Regardless, an EA effort must start by the simplification of the business; IT involvement is to capture the definition of a business and the interlaced data resource tying processes. Functional decomposition practices define the business functions and the resources necessary to accomplish each business function. One very prominent aspect of this is the absence of software and firmware for a given solution; these definitions are independent and must be isolated from a given product, they must rely on the definition process. Nothing else. EA Project team must be trained in this methodology and must the approval of upper management and vested with the required authority to engage in the investigative process. Business lines personnel must be instructed that participation is essential and necessary regardless of other commitments. Seriousness must prevail at-all times so focus is not lost. if necessary, sequestering during the definition process may be necessary in order to make gains and maintain continuity. This not a light issue to deal with and businesses must embrace the fact that the only way to understand own affairs is to dedicate the time to extract the knowledge its employees own. It requires the majority's participation and their contribution must be assured. The participation far exceeds the expense by the return through time. It is said that the Federal Government has taken the lead but one thing is traditional in averting participation is the dictatorial attitude of the feds which contradicts any good intentions with ridance or lack of participation that slows all efforts. State and Local governments' attitude is to 'show' me or no dice. EA to be successful, all entities must show willingness to participate and realize the benefits to be harvested.

Mossar    |    Commented November 18, 2008

I agree with J. Zepp about EA being predicated on a naive world view; I would add that this fact is by choice. I have practiced EA for decades and I've concluded that the two main reason for its acceptance is one, denial and two, mental constipation. The reasons driving an EA project differ by the environment in which one lives; in the Private Sector, ROI is the driving force and results are expected quickly, so introducing EA into the business becomes fragmented. In the Public Sector, there is none; the mentality that exist is constricted and any amount of reason requires strong softeners to produce fluidity. Government is plagued by continuity blindness and the inability to predict if a given initiative will produced the desired result. Simply because every effort is self-sustaining and lacks inner connection with similar processes. Most common is that in a given agency, businesses do not understand the power of the data resource and how to develop a fluidity among related processes; in fact, individual processes do not know there exist other processes that can easily share resources thus reduce costs and be efficient and productive. Management knows of the shortcomings but don't bring these out for fear either require lengthy involvements or effort will hamper their retirement plans. Clamor from lower ranks go unheeded, these are dwarfed and fall into the 'as-is-vain' and don't insist. Regardless, an EA effort must start by the simplification of the business; IT involvement is to capture the definition of a business and the interlaced data resource tying processes. Functional decomposition practices define the business functions and the resources necessary to accomplish each business function. One very prominent aspect of this is the absence of software and firmware for a given solution; these definitions are independent and must be isolated from a given product, they must rely on the definition process. Nothing else. EA Project team must be trained in this methodology and must the approval of upper management and vested with the required authority to engage in the investigative process. Business lines personnel must be instructed that participation is essential and necessary regardless of other commitments. Seriousness must prevail at-all times so focus is not lost. if necessary, sequestering during the definition process may be necessary in order to make gains and maintain continuity. This not a light issue to deal with and businesses must embrace the fact that the only way to understand own affairs is to dedicate the time to extract the knowledge its employees own. It requires the majority's participation and their contribution must be assured. The participation far exceeds the expense by the return through time. It is said that the Federal Government has taken the lead but one thing is traditional in averting participation is the dictatorial attitude of the feds which contradicts any good intentions with ridance or lack of participation that slows all efforts. State and Local governments' attitude is to 'show' me or no dice. EA to be successful, all entities must show willingness to participate and realize the benefits to be harvested.

EAnonymous practitioner chaffing at the waste!    |    Commented December 30, 2008

EA is misunderstood, I agree. It is also a possibility that at some govt sector EA itself has become a dinosauer! There are armies conducting EA work for 5-8yrs. Govt has a way of continuation.. Projects and people have a way of continuing, at the expense of ROI, real benefit to the business and IT operations!

EAnonymous practitioner chaffing at the waste!    |    Commented December 30, 2008

EA is misunderstood, I agree. It is also a possibility that at some govt sector EA itself has become a dinosauer! There are armies conducting EA work for 5-8yrs. Govt has a way of continuation.. Projects and people have a way of continuing, at the expense of ROI, real benefit to the business and IT operations!

EAnonymous practitioner chaffing at the waste!    |    Commented December 30, 2008

EA is misunderstood, I agree. It is also a possibility that at some govt sector EA itself has become a dinosauer! There are armies conducting EA work for 5-8yrs. Govt has a way of continuation.. Projects and people have a way of continuing, at the expense of ROI, real benefit to the business and IT operations!

EAnonymous practitioner chaffing at the waste!    |    Commented December 30, 2008

EA is misunderstood, I agree. It is also a possibility that at some govt sector EA itself has become a dinosauer! There are armies conducting EA work for 5-8yrs. Govt has a way of continuation.. Projects and people have a way of continuing, at the expense of ROI, real benefit to the business and IT operations!


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