Federal Enterprise Architecture and eGovernment


Mark Forman, Associate Director for Information Technology and E-Government, U.S. Office of Management and Budget is speaking about the use of enterprise architecture in the federal government.  Mark has been very good about working with the states and recognizing that there is a great asset and huge constituency in the state CIO offices. 

One of the tings I like about the federal eGovernment vision is that its not just about 24x7 availability, but also says that it will deliver decision in minutes or hours instead of days or weeks.  I like it for two reasons:

  1. It focuses on what citizens really want: quick service, not just availability.
  2. It drives business process re-engineering.    

I think that overall we've been pretty good in Utah at understanding this issue, but I don't see it explicitly stated anywhere.

Mark is making the point that we do eGovernment because we live in a world of interdependencies.  This is a good point.  eGovernment is a much deeper concept than just putting a web page up to conduct transactions with citizens: its about the interdependencies.  This is the basic fact that drives the move to cross agency, citizen centric applications.   Mark brings up the example of homeland security.  Homeland security is about interoperability, not just for voice, but for data.  That goes well beyond sending email from first responder to first responder.  It implies getting the right information to the right person at the right time.  Our first responder portal project is right in line with this. 

Some slogans:

  • Buy once, use many
  • Collect once, use many
  • When eGovernment is broken, its visible to everybody

Project SAFECOM is a new mobile data interoperability project that includes voice, but not as a the primary driver.  Mark says that he's gone through several program managers looking for someone who understands the issues.  He says he had to get away from the voice people because they didn't get data, but data people see voice as just another kind of data.  He also had to find a program manager who understood that consensus didn't include lobbyists.  You can only imagine the pressure from companies who see controlling this project as the key to sales to thousands of public safety departments around the country. 

Forman talks about their governance process and how he manages agency IT.  Each agency is evaluated on the following criteria as part of the budget process:

  • Modernization blueprint -- enterprise architecture
  • Business cases -- Capital planning and investment control done against blueprint
  • IT program management
  • IT security

Mark's staff is charged with helping each agency get to green on these areas.  His deputy manages this process.  Laggards in security, for example, won't get funds released until the fix is part of the plan and the capital planning process.  The results of the quarterly evaluations against these areas are reported to the Cabinet by the President.  Each agency has a CIO who has to report, by law, to their agency heads.  Part of their overall process is about building cross agency teams since the lines of business that cut across agency lines.  Because there are multiple agencies per line of business, the chief operating officer of the enterprise has to take responsibility for deciding who is to take ownership for fixing a line of business.  Man, does this all sound familiar!