Enterprise Architecture (EA), born in the private sector under fractured proprietary process methodologies, has matured into a serious discipline thanks to the funding strengths of the Federal Government and the dedication of many practitioners. Application of this systems engineering discipline has come about under the shadow of a federally-induced mandate, but with mixed results. The United States Office of Management and Budget’s primary focus on Information Technology (IT) has results in an inappropriate association of EA as an “IT thing” and has caused EA to lose credibility among business leadership. The author argues that EA can be about more than IT and more than a necessary evil. It can actually provide deep business value and provide a structure for breaking down and managing complex problem. From personal experience in applying EA to a private sector e-commerce solution for supply chain management, the author presents elements of an e-business approach that others can leverage to help craft an operational EA that generates more than expensive shelf-ware. EA can become crucial in day-to-day operations and can be used within executive ranks to drive business decisions.
The purpose of this article is to evaluate the Enterprise Architecture (EA) program for an Anonymous Federal Agency (AFA), a title chosen because actual situations from a federal agency EA program are used in this article, some of which are sensitive in nature. The evaluation methodology used in this article is based of the United States Government Accountability Office’s EA Management Maturity Framework (EAMMF) and its five stages of EA program maturity. In 2005, AFA’s current capability to utilize their EA received the lowest EAMMF rating (Stage 1) overall, with only some EA areas being at Stage 2. The AFA could improve their EA program by (1) avoiding Anne Lapkin’s “seven worst EA practices”; (2) involving stakeholders from throughout the AFA enterprise, not just from information technology; (3) education, involving, and requiring leadership’s participation (business and technical); and (4) remembering that developing EA documentation is an important aspect of the EA program, but may not be the best way to affect cultural change and use of the EA in planning and decision-making. Involving stakeholders is the most important element in using EA to improve agency performance.
The increasing importance of Enterprise Architecture is driven by requirements for seamless inter-operation between business, rapidly changing market, and ever-changing information and systems technologies. Enterprise architecture defines the overall design structure of the business and the information and technical infrastructure that supports the business, based on defined principles and models that guide the planning and designing, building and operating the enterprise and its strategic choices. This article highlights the importance of a principles-based enterprise architecture framework as a design imperative for business service groups, information management teams, and application and technology solution groups; as as a foundation for achieving interoperability, integration, and alignment of an organization’s systems (business, information, technology) across an enterprise.
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.