• 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.

      David Aden  | 
      David Aden DAden@webworldtech.com is a writer from Washington, D.C.