In 2004, the Department of the Interior (DOI) Received E-Gov Institute’s ‘Excellence in Enterprise Architecture’ Award. This particular award recognizes the contributions industries and governments make through the use of enterprise architecture. This award took place one year after Xentity’s contract in DOI Enterprise Architecture began.

This award comes as a surprise. The Xentity contract started with the DOI receiving a notification stating their IT budget would be cut $65 million. This was due to a lack of controls and a “worst” EA program sentiment. One year into creating the DOI’s EA program, Xentity was able to accomplish the following activities:

  1. Re-use a base methodology from work performed at the Bureau of Land Management to address blueprints in key lines of businesses (i.e., Wildland Fire, Recreation, Law Enforcement and Financial Management). These blueprints identify gaps in Interior’s existing IT portfolio that hamper the successful achievement of goals and objectives, minimize system redundancy and improve data sharing.
  2. Design, stand-up, and manage data gathering a repository to house the DOI system inventory supporting new system inventory policy. For the first time, DOI had its portfolio tracked, mapped to FEA reference models, and maps to how Security and CPIC tracked their enclaves and investments.
  3. Use the information and blueprints to help identify gaps in Interior’s existing IT portfolio that hamper the successful achievement of goals and objectives, minimize system redundancy and improve data sharing. This helped outline a roadmap for leveraging information technology to meet strategic and programmatic goals and objectives efficiently and effectively.

So What?

In examining these accomplishments from 2003 to 2004, there is one major takeaway. These Enterprise Architecture portfolio and analysis management strategies helped in dealing with shrinking budgets. They also improved services to citizens and its business partners. In adopting this strategy, DOI EA became qualified for the Enterprise Architecture Award.

Below are a set of questions asked of the DOI and other applicants to determine their qualifications for the award.  We’ve added the DOI’s responses for education purposes of you, the reader.

What Customers Are You (DOI) Serving?

The Department of the Interior (DOI) manages one of every five acres of land in the United States. They provide opportunities for wilderness, wildlife protection, recreation, and natural resource exploration, development and use. Key customers of the Interior Enterprise Architecture (IEA) are DOI executives and managers. Also, the general public and Interior’s business partners. Tangible benefits to these customers are being realized through the development of modernization blueprints. These blueprints align IT planning and expenditures to achieve strategic and programmatic goals via architectural analyses.

For example, in 2004 DOI partnered with its recreation business managers to develop a Recreation Modernization Blueprint. This blueprint identified a number of legacy redundant recreation reservation systems. These systems were originally not slated for consolidation into the President’s Management Agenda Recreation One-Stop E-Gov initiative. Through the approved blueprint, these systems will now be consolidated into the Recreation One-Stop target solution. This results in a unified inventory of recreation opportunities for the citizen and cost savings to DOI and our partners.

In addition, to improve on-line amenities and trip planning through Recreation One-Stop, the modernization blueprint defined future system interfaces with existing DOI applications (e.g., trails, facilities, and river databases). These will provide recreationists more robust information about Interior-managed parks and monuments. Under the IEA program, a modernization blueprint was also developed for financial management. This blueprint played a substantial role in the acquisition of the Financial and Business Management System. It also serves as a key input to the Government’s overall effort to improve financial systems. Other blueprints have been developed for Law Enforcement and Wildland Fire in 2004.

What Benefits Have You (DOI) Achieved To Date?

Three major achievements have been realized under the IEA program in 2004. First, a DOI-wide EA repository (DEAR) was established. It used a tailored commercial off the shelf (COTS) architecture tool that supports Interior’s business and architectural requirements. Both the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of State (DOS) are in the process of creating centralized EA repositories based on the DOI model. This EA repository aligns with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) for improved information sharing with other federal agencies. The repository unifies all EA development efforts and artifacts under one taxonomy. They will also be placed in a centralized source accessible to all Interior bureaus and offices.

Through the repository, bureau architects and system owners map their systems and investments to Interior’s strategic plan. Also to business, data, service and technology reference models. The repository is “mined” throughout Interior to identify cross-cutting solutions. Also, to redundancies and identify reusable and shareable service components that ultimately drive down Interior’s infrastructure costs.

Secondly, a modernization blueprint methodology was developed to provide structure and consistency in the DOI’s architecture development. The methodology employs a highly-structured process. This encompasses analyses of organizational structures, business functions, processes, data requirements, existing systems and planned investments. The goal being to achieve improved performance in accomplishing Interior’s strategic and tactical goals. This methodology encompasses a set of scoring criteria. The criteria is based on the OMB FEA Reference Models, covering performance, business, data, application, technology and security maturity to define a target state and transition plan from Interior’s as-is architecture. These blueprints are presented to the DOI’s Investment Review Board for approval. From there, they would guide future capital planning and IT investment decision-making.


Lastly, modernization blueprints were developed for the Financial Management, Recreation, Wildland Fire and Law Enforcement lines of business (LOB) under the IEA program in 2004. Each modernization blueprint provides a detailed plan for improving internal efficiencies and end services. This would minimize security and privacy risks, and reduce Interior’s total cost of ownership through elimination of redundant systems and investments. Combined, the four modernization blueprints have identified approximately 100 redundant systems that DOI will retire within the next 1-3 years. This results in millions of dollars in savings. Organizational boundaries that prevent the efficient sharing of information are being reexamined. Also, less than optimal reuses of data are being corrected.

Opportunities for business process reengineering have been identified to facilitate common approaches to deliver end-services to the citizen and partnering agencies. In the Recreation LOB alone, 16 systems that would have remained on-line will now be retired. This will save valuable IT funding. Also, improve the President’s Management Agenda E-Gov Recreation One Stop initiative’s service to the citizen. In the financial blueprint, 166 systems are being improved. Over 80 have been identified for retirement at this time. Consequently, this will save money and improve financial accountability.

Explain How The (DOI EA) Process And The Stakeholders To The Process Were Engaged In This Effort

The process of creating an integrated EA methodology for DOI engaged stakeholders from the highest levels of Interior’s management to the field system owners. Both a top-down and bottom-up approach was taken. From the top, senior management were briefed from the beginning on the benefits of developing a single cohesive EA effort in Interior that followed the OMB FEA models. This approach was approved by the DOI E-Gov Team and the Interior IT Investment Review Board. A governance structure was established and implemented to support the modernization blueprint analyses. This governance structure and blueprint methodology included input from business managers, system owners. Key IT officials (e.g., Bureau CIOs and Deputy CIOs) across Interior were also included.

A major factor in implementing the methodology was alignment to Interior’s strategic plan that incorporated input and feedback from Interior’s stakeholders and the end citizen. By integrating the goals and objectives of Interior’s strategic plan as the DOI performance reference model, the IEA ensured a citizen-centric focus was followed. The governance boards included membership from DOI headquarters and all DOI bureaus and offices. This tactic proved highly successful as all stakeholders were involved from the start and understood the benefits to be derived. With the governance structure in place, bureau architects, IT system owners and users were engaged in the process of implementing the DOI central EA repository and the development and review of the modernization blueprints. Stakeholders external to DOI were also engaged in the process as appropriate.

Why Do You (DOI) Consider This Enterprise Architecture And Award Winning, Transformational, Innovative Plan?

The DOI EA effort is unique in many aspects. DOI was the first federal cabinet agency to “operationalize” the OMB FEA Reference models through a Department-wide EA repository and blueprint methodology that unified EA development across its bureaus and offices. DOI has been contacted by other cabinet agencies (e.g., Departments of State and Energy) to leverage Interior’s repository design and supporting blueprint methodology. The FEA reference models were created as a hierarchical classification system for the federal government. However, these models, albeit critical in cross-agency analysis, provided a very high-level taxonomy geared towards inter-agency analysis. The DOI extended the FEA models by linking them to the DOI Strategic Plan goals and outcomes, Interior’s Activity Based Costing model and Capital Planning and Investment Control database, data architectures, the DOI Technology Reference Model and Interior’s IT system inventory.

Using these operationalized models, DOI IT investment decision-makers can now see direct links between their IT systems and investments and DOI goals targeted for accomplishment. The DOI implemented a strategically business-driven EA repository that connects architecture, information security and investment management artifacts and information. The DOI not only inventoried its IT system assets, but provided the means to strategically analyze them in the context of future planning cycles to control investments, security risks and technology standardization while reducing IT costs. Further, since all of the information in the repository is available to all DOI stakeholders, it improves data sharing through standardized data, identification of re-usable/shareable components, and definition of common solutions for future IT investments.

Furthermore, in Conclusion…

Also unique to DOI is the modernization blueprint methodology. Using a quantitative process, the methodology facilitates the change required to maximize the IT investment process to meet the business managers’ and corporate needs. DOI’s Investment Review Board endorsed the IEA modernization blueprint methodology requiring the blueprints to be used to guide the Interior’s IT investment process resulting in a strong linkage between EA and the capital planning and investment control process.

Finally, whereas many EA programs are viewed as theoretical and academic exercises, under the IEA program an actionable architecture has been produced using line of business modernization blueprints that will result in tangible benefits to the citizen, Interior’s business partners and overall reduction in Interior’s IT costs.