New OMB tools will delve deeper into lines of business

The Forest Service's John King says by doing analysis on the front end of the project, agency IT workers get a database template that they can fill in later.

Olivier Douliery

The Office of Management and Budget will soon give agencies tools to take a deeper look into their lines of business and advance their efforts to establish an enterprise architecture.

Administration officials are developing a standard meta model for agencies to apply to their enterprise architectures. The model is intended to help them find areas of duplication in their own operations and with those of other agencies and discover where they can benefit from combining operations with other departments.

'The meta model will allow agencies to exchange information without any problems,' said Diane Reeves, an enterprise architect with OMB. 'The models describe how you want all your functions to work across the line of business.'

Reeves, who spoke at the E-Gov Enterprise Architecture Conference last month, said OMB also will release a guidance document describing how agencies should collaborate on projects. It will include suggestions on how to overcome cultural resistance to change and differences in taxonomy that can hamper joint projects.

Next logical step

Agencies have accepted the reference models that administration officials have established for the Federal Enterprise Architecture, and a standard meta model is the next logical step for agencies to delve deeper into their business processes and find areas of collaboration, said John King, the chief architect for the Forest Service.

OMB is using the meta model King helped develop for the Recreation One-Stop Quicksilver project as a template to create a government version, Reeves said.

OMB formed a working group called the FEA Process team made up of federal and private-sector experts to create the model and guidance, Reeves said.

Reeves said OMB plans to apply the meta model first to the Federal Health Architecture, enterprise human resources information systems, the Justice Department's case management initiative and E-Vital, the e-government initiative led by the Social Security Administration to integrate the collection of vital statistics, such as birth and death records.

Recreation One-Stop was the first e-government project to dig deeper into its mission and processes, Reeves said.

'The model gives you the wherewithal to do the line of business modernization plan,' King said. 'You can link all the different factors that are in play so you can account for them when doing your planning and budget estimating.'

Recreation One-Stop project leaders analyzed 11 areas to describe the processes and how they relate to each other and to the project's mission, King said.

'For the enterprise to be well managed, you need to understand the role of each of these things in leading the overall performance of the enterprise,' King said. 'Each has a role in helping the agency achieve its mission.'

King said doing this analysis on the front end of the project gives agency IT workers a database template that they can fill in when collecting the specific data.

'The complete meta model is a wiring diagram of all you know about the enterprise, the relationship between all 11 of these areas,' King said.

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