IT Footprint Progression in the Federal Government… and the role of Architecture

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edited by
Matt Tricomi

In early December 2011, Xentity architects had a chance to discuss future progression with OMB current and former Chief Architects. The following captures some of the concepts discussed for architecture in context of the overall IT progression in Federal Government both looking back at where IT has been, but given current initiatives, but could be further emphasized, integrated, or uncovered moving forward.

PDF: ITProgression-Policy-Arch-Role.pdf

Where IT has been

Organization Information Role

IT originally was built as a Federated cost center. IT moved into Agency Data Centers model for archive/records. Commerce Models of economy drove eGov without migrating IT to Service models. Govt swamped in the T of IT, haven’t got back to the I. 

Trained Workforce

IT Acquisition originally was about financing/leasing federated shared manufactured systems Then Client/Server came, which is solution architecture, and 1000s of stacks came. Acquisition never got trained or linked with EA, and engineering mostly got outsourced

Data Center Footprint

Federated Regional Centers moved to Mission Centers moving to Server Rooms due to 1000s of system configurations. Initial FDCCI will close 1/3 of the portfolio count, but other 2/3s will have high transition costs

Technology Stack

IT stack started monolithic and slowly moved into server tiers then into service components. Though reduced individual system develop. cost, O&M Total Cost of Ownership was ignored and system security and interoperability was low.

Recommendations Discussed

Organization Information Role

– Institutionalized Funding for Enabling G2G IT Services at GSA
– Position G2C Services as High-Available Service Centers
– Focus Mission on Data Services training on Data Lifecycle that allows Private, NGO, Citizens to build on top of
– Increase EA role in support of mission and policy analysts for depth reach back to increase new political appointee effectiveness and limit turnover/ takeover disruption

Trained Workforce

– Position EA as depth knowledge base for acquisition guidance reachback
– Train all 3 workforce components on Performance maturity, Common Stack Architecture, and FEA/FSAM v2
– Establish CIO and EA relationship formerly with Acquisition
– Retire ineffective, existing burden to demonstrate credibility, eating own dog food, and increase success chances

Data Center Footprint

– Increase CMMI/ITIL Requirements to lower O&M
– Continue FDCCI
– Guide 2nd Consolidation Phase through taking advantage of CPIC renewal or new system cycles to assure re-use of new platform or data services in new shared platform environments to avoid simple hardware/system “cowpath” migration

Technology Stack

– Establish a Common Stack Architecture to be cloud managed service platforms by Select Large Agencies, waived Large Programs, and GSA
– Manage a True Common Stack Portfolio definition and implementation status
– Target New Solutions and Existing Systems for collaborative evaluation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can approach architecture for other implementers

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For a large majority of consulting companies both design and implement for ALL projects.  Though profitable for many firms, the best design can end up biased towards the agenda of the implementer which may be to sell more components, get more bodies. Now, we have the capability to implement architecture, but our end goal is not to design an architecture that is for us to implement, but an architecture that is implementable. 

Many times, the client knows that the implementer will design with a bias, so the client chooses to or must design blind without considering the maturity of what an implementer can provide. In those cases, we can come in, architect, and be a third party to help do the concept, design, and design the requirements and performance work statement basis.

This approach with these services buy-back risk to your implementation and increase the likelihood of achieving your metrics and goals.

  • In Architecture, We can design and not implement. Though all our designers come with deep experience in implementing, and we can, in cases as independent designers, we can provide the best design recommendations without bias for implementation.
  • In Management Consulting, we can stand-up program management, execute a program management or governance support in lieu of existing support, or transition to existing support. 
  • In FedBiz, we train, support, and consult implementers on federal business management, so they can focus on delivering a solid implementation. Quality contractor support to implement a design, project, or program is hard to find. Compliant, Responsive, Reliable is even harder in Government space
  • In Communications, we help promote the transformation effort
  • In Research, we continually re-invest in new models, patterns, and constructs that go back into our designs.

 Why do we do it? We are all stuck if there are not good implementers or integrators to implement the designs, so it is more important for us to see the transformation designs move forward.

What does geodata.gov mean to data.gov

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During the First International Open Government Data Conference in November 2010, Xentity Geospatial Services and Architect Lead, Jim Barrett had the opportunity to present alongside colleagues such as the OMB Federal CIO, CTO, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and several other name-dropping figures in this space.

Jim, at the time part of the XPN as independent consultant, presented on our recent conceptual architecture work for data.gov that looked to integrate the previous administrations geodata.gov. Geodata.gov open data registration accounts for over 80% of all data in data.gov, so its by all means a major impact to where data.gov would need to focus.

The conference appears to continue as a bi-annual event with the last one being held in July 2012

The following captures the extended version of his presentation:

Xentity chosen to help re-arch data.gov

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Wiki Admin

Xentity has been brought on as subcontractor to Phase One Consulting Group to support adding geospatial and help update some of the user discovery and supplier coordination patterns for data.gov

UPDATE 11/2011:

  • Xentity delivered architecture recommendations in early 2011
  • data.gov implemented the first phase of the architecture by retiring and initial migration of geodata.gov to geo.data.gov
  • Future phase recommendations are procurement sensitive, but project results were very exciting to see where data.gov could go.
  • What does geodata.gov mean to data.gov – Xentity Supports presenting Architecture findings at International Data Conference.