Federal Enterprise Architecture

I'm at Susan Turnbull's Universal Collaboration workshop. Interestingly enough, the NSF has been kind enough to provide a wireless network, so I'm connected. Right now, Bob Haycock of the federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office is speaking right at present.

This model describes the process or steps for creating the architecture. Notice that the technical reference model is the last thing created and the business reference model is at the top, right after performance metrics have been created (i.e create desired outcomes).

Bob is talking about the service delivery wedding cake which I think nicely captures the foundational elements that must be in place to support services to citizens. This wedding cake is a pictorial representation of the business reference model.

In the performance reference model, each business line owner is responsible for applying the performance metrics to their line of business. For example, HHS might be the business line owner for "public health." Public health is a line of business that might cross agency boundaries. Each participant in the business line would look for common business processes and use common metrics to measure outcomes.

In the line of business, for "regulation," regulatory management is governed by the business reference model, rule publications is governed by the service component reference model, and content management would be governed by the technical reference model. The idea being that most agencies do regulation, and they ought to have common models.

The data reference model is not an attempt to create a big, monolithic data model for the federal government, but rather to create standards for meta data, particularly where it relates to interoperability. The federal XML work is likely to be part of this effort (although I'm not sure it is now).

The technical reference model is not well developed at present, but will use standards such as J2EE and .NET (not even Utah was small enough to settle on one or the other---there's not chance the feds will). The goal, obviously is to build enough standards in the services and data reference models to support sharing of components in the technical reference model layer. Right now Bob is talking about multi-tiered application development as one way to drive reuse. The goal is rapid component-based assembly of applications to deliver functionality quickly as opposed to the traditional waterfall model. This is a big shift for the feds. This afternoon, I'll be saying that we can go beyond that with web services by incrementally exposing interfaces and using ALIN to separate concerns.

The feds are looking for "solutions architects." These are folks with good technical and business skills who can create specific architectures for specific applications. Solutions architects are the ying to the product manager's yang. I'm not sure how the feds handle product management. Utah has a eGovernment product management council. I think the book, Software Architecture in Practice probably describes what they're after in terms of skills.

Bob just mentioned, in response to a question, that OMB fully intends to use the federal budget process to drive transformation and change. I think that this is an important point that any Governor, new or old, needs to understand. The budget process is, by far, the most powerful tool in the belt for driving compliance with change mandates by the Governor.