Second Bush term good for EA, chief architect at HUD says

Second Bush term good for EA, chief architect at HUD says

As new appointees take up positions in the government for President Bush's second term, it will be a good opportunity for architects to sell them on the value of enterprise architectures'or so says Richard Burk, HUD's deputy chief technology and chief architect for IT.

'We can tell them, 'You have a mission and here's a tool that can help you,' ' Burk said yesterday at GCN's 2004 Enterprise Architecture Conference in Washington.

When Bush first came to office in 2001, EA was still in its formative years and government IT professionals were not ready to demonstrate its benefits, he said. Now they have experience under their belts, which will be necessary because selling EA inside an agency presents a significant challenge, Burk said.

The enterprise architecture concept 'will stick when the business areas get it, not when someone is forcing it on them,' Burk said. He described a situation where he and his staff tried repeatedly to make a senior HUD official understand the benefit, but it wasn't until a junior staffer talked about EA it terms of performance measurements that 'a light went on.'

Today HUD program managers seek out Burk's EA staff for help with their architecture projects, but it wasn't always that way. Previously, EA projects were initiated because program managers were under pressure to adopt them, Burk said.

'We need to build a track record so businesses know they can come out looking good and get funding,' he said. Agencies can do so by breaking down EA into 'chewable parts.'

And, admittedly, 'it's hard to show return on investment at an enterprise level,' he said.

Burk described an ongoing EA effort in HUD's Single Family Mortgage Insurance Program to consolidate 41 systems, including 11 the IT department didn't know existed, into just nine systems. HUD broke the process down into three phases'architecture, investment and implementation'which it codified into an IT lifecycle framework.

Looking ahead, Burk said, the Office of Management and Budget needs to sell Congress on the value of EA and invest in leadership. OMB still hasn't replaced Bob Haycock, the government's former chief architect, despite agencies' calls for greater guidance.

'We need good minds who can articulate the value proposition,' Burk said. 'EA has the potential to transform government without changing organizations.'

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