Nine steps for forecasting success on EA

Developing an enterprise architecture is one of the hottest topics for any CIO right now and needs to be treated as a program rather than merely a project, said Barry West, CIO of the National Weather Service.

West said too many CIOs do not take the issue seriously and view it as a paper exercise once a year to satisfy the Office of Management and Budget.

West recently selected the Metis modeling tool from Computas NA Inc. of Sammamish, Wash., to develop an enterprise architecture for NWS.

'It's actually a modeling and repository tool,' West said. 'You can take the inventory you have'your infrastructure'populate the tool and then use it for modeling-type scenarios and for your IT governance.'

West outlined nine key attributes for developing a successful enterprise architecture:
  • Get commitments from top management and business unit managers

  • Develop an enterprise architecture strategy and business case

  • Select a proper tool with both a repository and modeling capability

  • Treat enterprise architecture as a program and not just a project

  • Assign a full-time enterprise architect and staff to the program

  • Appoint a review board made up of senior business managers

  • Use the tool to tie your architecture to your day-to-day business decisions

  • Keep the architecture current

  • Measure the results and gauge performance.

West said an enterprise architecture is not a function of technology but of business processes, and it is critical for making decisions about capital investments and planning.

'If you really don't know what your inventory is, how can you really make good investment decisions about what you need and where you need to go?' he said.

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