Some Background Information
In 2004, Xentity supported the Department of the Interior (DOI) Chief Information Officer (CIO) office (OCIO) and all bureaus in implementing a DOI standard Methodology for Business Transformation (MBT) and governance. This approach was built on using appropriately collaborative facilitated approaches and a balanced level of analysis. Then discovering such business improvements (i.e. process, data, application, technologies, resources, budget) to meet mission needs. Xentity has supported IT and Business Resource Objectives that address avoiding problems. This includes Paving Cow Paths, Resistance to Change Planning, Redundant Buying, Program Management, Poor Modernization Blueprints, Islands of Automation, Poor Cyber Security and several other anti-pattern core architecture concepts.
This method results in a sequenced set of strategic improvement opportunities. Also, a set of recommendations that can be fed into a facilitated Enterprise Architecture management construct (i.e. Program Management Office, Governance, supporting service). Meaning, we do tend to prescribe to enter into Segment Architecture level first:
Source: OMB (FINAL_FEA_Practice_Guidance_2006121406.pdf)
Though Enterprise Architecture Often Provides And Defines A Set Of High-level Decisions That Will Strongly Influence The Integrity And Structure Of The System, But Is Not Itself The Structure Of The Program Or The System Which Is What The Business Is In Need Of
Solution architecture creates the system structures. Here, we take into account system priorities and constraints. In doing so, we ensure that the system will achieve the system objectives and architectural requirements. The decisions made in Enterprise Architecture — typically for technology — inform and constrain the work. However, the business will need to define its own compromise of scope, timing, qualities, etc. These will be based on its budget allocations it negotiated with the enterprise.
While the aforementioned is true, the segment analysis will struggle with reinventing itself into another silo without enterprise architecture guidance. This is why a method for approaching segment architecture definition, with re-usable patterns connected to the program and enterprise line of sight, is so important. Otherwise, without engaging at the segment the program will typically be in the hands of the IT cost or service center. And they may not, or do not, have purview for the overall program or enterprise domain. Thus, the workforce, IT Specialists, and Software Programmers often develop their own subset of technology code and lack refactoring guidance. Consequently, we are back into lacking the Architecture Concepts and into those anti-patterns again.
Developing A Clear Line Of Sight
The Method development had its basis developed with a clear line of sight. This line was between needs from the business and an analysis of the program goals. The method can be further reviewed in the blog on “Developing a Transformation Approach“. Also, its portfolio of products and services, process effectiveness and efficiencies, and supporting workforce and systems provide an understanding of the capital and operational investment for that total cost of ownership view.
The program or segment view would compare against other enterprise or common resources, patterns, and capabilities for improvements. These findings, based on where the core team would strategically seek opportunities to improve, would be analyzed for alternative ways to address, progress, or resolve issues and provide a key set of sequenced recommendations aligned with the organization’s capability to absorb the change and the organizations longevity factors for not addressing the change.
In summary, some key tactics leveraged are:
- Helping vet the design into the client process, acquisition language and principles
- Assuring a reasonable investment plan by aligning with executive directives
- Using the core principle best practice analysis built into the design for implementers
- Collaborative based designs improving the likelihood of implementation success
- Communications is primarily strategic outside of the core team to gauge interest and reaction i.e. Knowledge Management, Chess, Sun-Tzu, Movie Production
Where Is The Method Today?
The core principles, and a large portion of the analysis methods and tools, has since been used as the core of the OMB’s Federal Segment Architecture Methodology (FSAM). Also, the OMB Chief Architect brought in Xentity to support further revisions of FSAM. This is because Xentity’s hands-on practitioner and thought leadership in the transformation space.
This method supports over twenty blueprints at DOI and Bureaus. It is now a federal standard for approach-coordinated efforts for EA-driven change. For a specific example, Xentity has provided such support since 2007 to the USGS National Geospatial Program (NGP) in coordination with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Science Strategy and the development of the NGP Strategic Plan. Xentity’s experience with USGS NGP gives a proven understanding of what it will take to support the USGS objective of implementing DOI Geospatial Modernization Blueprint recommendations for standardization and optimization of geospatial data and services. Xentity supported the collaborative creation and completion of four transformative and modernized blueprints in response. Also, we are in a strong position to support the shift towards executing, monitoring, and supporting the implementation of those blueprint recommendations.
Using these tools, Xentity has supported DOI and USGS since 2003 in Enterprise Architecture. As such, in 2004, Xentity supported DOI in the creation of its first blueprints. Then, in 2007 thru 2009, Xentity supported USGS’s efforts to achieve tactical modernization in its delivery services and planning functions. And, in 2009 through 2011, Xentity supported the creation of 4 modernization and transformation blueprints within USGS National Geospatial Program. Simply put, our methods have helped organizations in vastly different efforts over the years.