Sticking points in EA Business Transformation

The recent Management of Change Conference in Philadelphia was notable for several recurring themes. Among them: Technology enables'it doesn't drive'change; business changes must lead to governmentwide transformation; agency executives'not regulatory bodies like the Office of Management and Budget'must own the transformation process; and perhaps most importantly, enterprise architecture needs to be viewed as a management tool to achieve results.

I support the prediction voiced at one panel discussion that within the next three to five years, enterprise architecture will move up through the organization from the IT level to the secretary level, where it will be managed with greater governance.

The question remains, how can agencies move rapidly from their current 'as is' states to the desired 'to be' states of governmentwide transformation, while improving performance and reducing costs?

The simplest path is to address two sticking points: program management offices operating outside the context of EA and the lack of communications strategy between the Hill and agencies. Enterprise architecture could help improve them both.

Agencies are progressing from red to green on the President's Management Agenda stoplight scorecard in the areas of enterprise architecture and capital asset planning. But the third leg essential to governmentwide business transformation'program management'remains, as one OMB official described it, 'a hodgepodge of Scotch tape and sealing wax.' Why? It is difficult to assign ownership to programs like human resources or financial management. Program management is not yet working in concert with EA and CAP, but it needs to in a more concerted way.

The second sticking point requires greater executive level buy-in to governmentwide transformation and a better communications strategy between agencies and Congress, including at the deputy secretary and secretary levels.

Enterprise architecture and its associated concept of IT governance could help improve both issues, if we bear in mind these essentials:
You get what you measure. Measure output in terms that are meaningful to business. Business-approved architecture is a prerequisite to capital investment, both of which precede program management. The first product from a program management team is segment architecture for the respective lines of business, which must be reconciled to the enterprise architecture. An appropriate, integrated, dynamic governance system is critical to achieving results through these three phases of the IT lifecycle. What would also help are technology solutions that capture both PMO and EA data from any digital source, store that data in a central repository and automatically update it on an ongoing basis.

Structure promotes discipline. Agencies require an internal structure that supports program management. The ideal approach would be a body of stakeholders above program managers prioritizing what they need, and a structure below managers of security, change management and architecture professionals providing input for their specific projects.

Executive sponsorship must be upfront and consistent. Attention may be focused through the President's Management Council agenda scorecard and by stakeholders repeating the mantra of 'governmentwide transformation through IT governance and the integration of EA, CAP, and the PMO.'

Business transformation is a continuous process combining strategy and execution to achieve a new, improved and coordinated vision. The good news is, we believe agencies are headed in that direction.

George Paras
Vice president
Enterprise Architecture Solutions
Troux Technologies Inc.
Austin, Texas
Reader address: george.paras@troux.com.

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