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A Real Options Perspective to Enterprise Architecture as an Investment Activity

The ever-increasing expenditure on information technology (IT) is accompanied by an increasing demand to measure the business value of such investments. This has prompted enterprises to take an architectural view of their information systems (IS) and supporting technologies. However, many crucial enterprise architecture frameworks and guidelines are characterized by lack of adequate theoretical or conceptual foundations. Important but inadequately formulated concepts include architectural assessments, governance and architecture maturity models. These, though central to the enterprise architecture blueprinting and implementation process, remain in their current formulations largely wisdom driven rather than engineering based approaches. Absence of adequate scientific or mathematical foundations for enterprise design and engineering significantly impede enterprise architecture initiatives. The current body of knowledge is limited to reference architectures where the implementation challenges are left to the enterprises themselves. This paper views enterprise architecture development as largely a process of decision making under uncertainty and incomplete knowledge. Taking value maximization as the primary objective of the enterprise architecture decision-making process, the paper attempts to develop guidelines for value enhancement. The paper assumes that portions of the value in an enterprise architecture initiative is in the form of embedded options (real options), which provide architects with valuable flexibility to change plans, as uncertainties are resolved over time. Plausibility of using such an approach to develop a better account of critical enterprise architecture practice is focused on three areas: (1) the timing of critical architectural decisions; (2) architecture development for adaptability and change; and (3) phased approach to enterprise architecture maturity enhancement.

Department of Interior: A Practical Approach to Enterprise Architecture – Part 2

This article describes the evolution of the Department of the Interior Enterprise Architecture (IEA) from an underdeveloped stated focused primarily on technology architecture, to its current position as a recognized leader in agency enterprise architectures, selected as best among all OMB rated EA programs in July 2005 and April 2006. This article is the second of two parts — Part I appeared in the previous issue of the JEA, and covered DOI background information, early shortcomings of the IEA effort, and subsequent improvements in IEA, including the development of key fundamentals. Part II presents both the “Major Changes” to IEA and the milestones and approaches in the IEA effort. The final “Major Change” presents information on a methodology developed by the IEA team known as MBT, or the Methodology for Business Transformation.

Department of Interior: A Practical Approach to Enterprise Architecture – Part 1

This article describes the evolution of the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) Enterprise Architecture (EA) from an under-developed state that primarily focused on the technology architecture to its current position as a model for other agencies. This was evidenced by the high rating of DOI’s EA (4.0 out of 5.0) among all federal EA programs in June 2005 from the Office of Management and Budget. This article presents the evolution of the Department’s EA over the past three years in terms of the development and application of a set of techniques that have facilitated business transformation at a sustainable rate while achieving broad organizational buy-in. This article will also include a detailed examination of various approaches to EA, a discussion of key fundamentals identified during the process and lessons learned.

Implementing Enterprise Architecture at the U.S. Secret Service

This article describes a ten-step process used by the United States Secret Service to build its Enterprise Architecture (EA) program. EA is the discipline that synthesizes key business and technical information across the organization to support better decision-making. The Secret Service program improves on the traditional approach to EA by going beyond the collection of voluminous information to synthesize and present it in a useful and useable format for decision-makers. It achieves this by using a clear framework, incorporating a three-tier approach to displaying the information, and drawing on principles of communication and design in a 10-step process.

The District of Columbia’s City-Wide Enterprise Architecture

The District of Columbia’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) recently completed a set of Citywide Enterprise Architecture (EA) blueprints that illustrate IT systems and enterprise business processes with a near-term focus of the nine Services Modernization Programs (SMP). The Citywide WA is compliant with the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework Level III. The Citywide EA is comprises four blueprints: business architecture, information architecture, application architecture, and infrastructure architecture. The Citywide EA application blueprint comprises a Services Oriented Architecture for hared software components. Three of these EA blueprints will be published in the District’s IT Strategic Plan 2005-2008. The fourth viewpoint, infrastructure architecture, is classified as Protected Critical Infrastructure Information by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In addition, the District is designing long-term Concepts of Operations that constitute strategic program plans and target architectures for each SMP. The District’s to-be planning approach incorporates best practices from Business Process Reengineering and EA.