In early October 2010, the Federal CIO Council hosted a meeting attended by approximately 80 senior architects, CIOs, and CTOs from throughout the federal government to discuss the concerns of federal EA practitioners and stakeholders and plan for the future of the federal EA program. The results of this meeting were summarized in a memorandum distributed to all attendees and posted on a federal EA website. The memorandum is provided below in its entirety.
Federal Enterprise Architecture
Community Seminar. October 1, 2010
Approximately 80 senior architects, CIOs, and CTOs from throughout the federal government convened on October 1, 2010 to discuss actions that the federal Enterprise Architecture (EA) community needs to take to be of value to agency line of business owners, program offices, and leadership. The community has felt recently that it has been underutilized and that there is an overall misconception of their role. Several panels, discussions, and question/answer sessions gave community members a chance to express their ideas and concerns. During the seminar, five overall themes arose:
1. Fundamental Change
The EA community realized they are not as influential and successful as in the past. Vivek Kundra said that the federal EA community has been often focused on compliance documentation at the expense of supporting mission improvements. The community realized it has to change. Enterprise Architects need to be involved in agency strategy, business, and budget planning sessions, not just focused on information technology. Trust needs to be built between the agency CXOs, program managers, and architects.
Feedback from attendees reflected agreement on the importance of delivering tangible, mission and outcome-oriented results. The time for a change has come. There is a window of opportunity where the community feels it can make the change and be successful.
2. Success Stories and Value
The need to create a source of EA success stories and a set of program evaluation metrics to reflect where value is created are items that came up throughout the meeting. Community members felt that if there were more success stories available to them, convincing agency leadership that EA can contribute to mission improvement would be easier. The EA community needs to communicate better both internally and to agency leadership. Coming up with marketing materials in a vocabulary that can be understood without much knowledge of EA will help agency leadership become familiar with what EA can offer.
3. Where Does Enterprise Architecture Belong?
Currently, agency leadership often associates EA with IT and not with business or strategy. Some community members felt that in part this was due to the EA function reporting to the agency CIO and not the COO or CEO equivalents… or having stronger collateral relationships outside of the CIO organization. The community felt that if the EAs were seen as a strategic asset instead of an IT practice, the architects could add more value across the agency.
4. New Approach
Currently, there is a lack of coordination and clarity among federal sector architecture concepts and practices. A number of community members expressed a desire to see a ‘common approach’ to federal architecture be developed that could be adopted by civilian, military, and intelligence agencies to promote the ability to better exchange architecture information and to improve work being done on multi-agency, sector-wide, inter-government, and international efforts. A new approach would need to be over-arching and include all aspects of EA practices.
5. Expanding Level of Scale
Expanding the existing levels of scale to include a Sector architecture and Government-Wide architecture was well received. There was a healthy debate with questions including creation and enforcement of standards at these levels.
The community discussed action items to be pursued over the next six months. These action items will be worked on collaboratively by the community and will be reviewed by the Federal Chief Architect and the AIC, as well as by Vivek Kundra and Mike Howell.
- Updated approach
- Supports commonality
- Supports specific functional areas
- New levels of scale (sector and government-wide)
- Mission driven
- Supports collaboration
- Open standards
- Example implementations
- Communicating Value/Success
- EA community
- Examples of agency EA success
- Measures from OMB
- Overlooked areas
- Role Clarification
The next Federal EA Community Seminar is tentatively scheduled for Friday, April 8th, location TBD.