Andy Blumenthal, CTO, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Andy Blumenthal, CTO, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Photo courtesy of Andy Blumenthal, CTO, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Editor's Note: This article is the second in a series that explores the CIO Support Services Framework in government.

In Part 1 of The CIO Support Services Framework, I presented the six major components needed to support the public CIO in managing IT strategically and proactively. In this article, I will explain what IT best practices framework inform these six components and propose a structure for implementing it.

The six CIO Support Services Framework (CSSF) functions are distinct areas that require subject-matter expertise and need to be managed based on the various IT best practice frameworks. While I am not endorsing any particular best practice government or industry framework, below is a sampling according to CSSF functional area:

  • Enterprise Architecture (EA) -- Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA), Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF), and The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF).
  • Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) -- Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-130--"Management of Federal Information Resources" and the Control Objectives for Information and related Technologies (COBIT) by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) and the IT Governance Institute (ITGI).
  • Project Management Office (PMO) -- the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) by the Project Management Institute is the de facto standard project management best practices from initiation through project closeout.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) -- the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) by the United Kingdom's Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and International Standards Organization (ISO) 20000--"IT Service Management." While both are very much operational frameworks, they can also be used to guide service and support at a strategic level in the OCIO.
  • IT Security (ITS) -- the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), various Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) from the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), and International Organization for Standardization ISO/IEC 17799 -- Information Technology Code of Practice for Information Security Management.
  • Business Performance Measurement (BPM) -- the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) by Kaplan and Norton from Harvard Business School -- examines financial, customer, internal business process, and learning and growth measures for the organization.

Although each of the six main functional areas and their supporting best practice frameworks are unique, they can and will overlap, and it is imperative that the OCIO develop a simple and streamlined process for managing these, so that IT and business personnel are not confused or burdened by redundant or circuitous IT processes that hinder, rather than spur innovation and agility. For example, while EA planning guides CPIC IT investment decisions, those decisions inform the next round of EA planning -- it is inherently cyclical. Nevertheless, we must ensure that the overall process flow between all six areas is as clear and simple as possible.

I like to use the example of a Monopoly game board as an analogy for how IT processes should ideally progress from "Go" all the way through -- logically, and more or less sequentially -- without project mishap, ending up on the OMB Watch List for risky IT projects, the equivalent of landing in Monopoly "jail."

The CSSF provides the functional resources to fully support the OCIO and provide the capability to move from simply fighting day-to-day operational problems to strategically managing IT service provision, improving performance and increasing program and project success, through:

  • Planning (EA)
  • Investing (CPIC)
  • Executing (PMO)
  • Servicing (CRM)
  • Securing (ITS)
  • Measuring (BPM)

Each of these OCIO component functions is helpful in managing IT by providing the CIO the capability to better plan, invest, execute, service, secure and measure -- but these are

Andy Blumenthal  |  Contributing Writer

Andy Blumenthal is a division chief at the U.S. State Department. He was previously chief technology officer at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. A regular speaker and published author, Blumenthal blogs at User-Centric Enterprise Architecture and The Total CIO. These are his personal views and do not represent those of his agency.