Enterprise architecture to aid INS' reorganization

INS' enterprise architects took into account the agency's pending reorganization, Amy Wheelock said.

Hernik G. DeGyor

'The tough work starts now' as INS begins implementing its architecture, Paul Rosenberg said.

Henrik G. DeGyor

Immigration and Naturalization Service officials say their new enterprise architecture will take the service's pending reorganization in stride and contribute to its efficiency.

The plan is part of INS' efforts to overhaul its much-criticized IT infrastructure.

'It is well-known that the INS has not had the best history in IT performance,' said Paul R. Rosenberg, director of the Office of Strategic Information and Technology Development. The agency came under withering fire for allowing terrorists involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to stay in the country illegally.

But the recently completed enterprise architecture is designed to apply the principles of the President's Management Agenda to IT planning in the agency, he said.

The INS' enterprise architecture project started about two years ago, following a critical General Accounting Office report that called for sweeping changes, Rosenberg said. 'GAO was very specific,' he said. 'They wanted to see a project office. They wanted to see it run by project management principles, and they wanted the project management officer to report to the senior executives of the agency.'

To comply with GAO's recommendations, INS has reorganized its IT offices. At the time GAO released its report, Rosenberg reported to the executive associate commissioner for programs. 'Now I am reporting to the Office of the Commissioner,' he said.

Reorganization likely

When INS officials began the enterprise architecture process, they knew a reorganization of the agency was likely, said Amy J. Wheelock, chief of the Investment Review Branch of the agency. 'Even prior to 9-11, we were under the specter of being reorganized. We realized we needed to keep the architecture organizationally independent.'

Now, INS has been tapped as one of the agencies that will form the core of the proposed Homeland Security Department. 'We can use this information [gathered in the enterprise architecture] to plan how to split things up,' Wheelock said.

The INS enterprise architecture team worked with contractors Science Applications International Inc. of San Diego and High Performance Technologies Inc. of Arlington, Va., Wheelock said.

To create the enterprise architecture, INS brought in experts on the agency's processes to examine how INS conducts its business.

'There were a good 60 people involved in that,' Rosenberg said.

The experts determined that different arms of the INS carry out similar processes but perform them differently, such as identifying and tracking individuals. The group identified standardized ways that all INS offices should conduct such processes.

'Regardless of changes in immigration policy, there are certain processes that remain the same,' Wheelock said.

The agency reviewed enterprise architecture repository products and selected System Architecture Version 8 software from Popkin Software Inc. of New York.

'When we were doing the middle part of the project, we didn't use the tool very much, but it has ended up as being where we put the data now,' Wheelock said.

'You can report out lists of data that show relationships. It is a corporate encyclopedia,' Rosenberg said.

The INS team now faces the challenge of implementing the enterprise architecture.

'There is a need to upgrade the data in the Popkin system,' Wheelock said. 'The enterprise architecture remains the blueprint. Now we have to do the work of automating the business.'
'The tough work starts now,' Rosenberg said.

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