Footprints Of IT

Xentity architects had a unique opportunity to discuss future progression with current and former Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Chief Architects in early December 2011. The following captures some of the architecture concepts discussed, regarding the overall IT progression in the Federal Government. These discussions take a look back at where IT has been. Then, given where it is currently, we toy with what could be further emphasized, integrated, or uncovered. This happens as IT continues to advance. We are sharing this knowledge today, because as a data consulting firm we just love passing on amazing knowledge for other people to learn.


Where IT Has Been

Organization Information Role

IT organizations originally began as Federated cost centers. Then, IT moved into the Agency Data Center model for supporting of archives and records. During that period, certain commerce models of the economy drove eGov without migrating IT to a Service Model where it belonged. With this focus, the US federal government practically swamped itself within the “T” (Technology) of “IT”, and has not returned to the “I” (Information) since.

Trained Workforce

IT Acquisition was originally concerned with financing and leasing federated, shared, manufactured systems. Then the idea of Client/Server solution architecture systems came into existence. This lead to implementation of 1000s of hardware servers stacks, which soon became the norm. Acquisition of these IT systems were unfortunately, never aligned with the Enterprise Architecture (EA). Also, the engineering of the systems were mostly outsourced to consultants.

Data Center Footprint

The proverbial IT footprint shows the Federated Regional Data Centers moving to Mission Centers. Then to Server Rooms due to the 1000’s of IT system configurations being implemented by various government agencies and missions. The initial Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) implemented in 2012, which was tasked with reducing redundant data centers across the federal government, would close 1/3 of these portfolios. However, the other 2/3’s remain and will have high transition costs.

Technology Stack

IT stacks began as monolithic systems requiring substantial investment in hardware, energy, space, and staffing support. Then IT slowly moved into client/server tiers, which then evolved into service architecture. However, while these efforts reduced the cost of individual system development, O&M Total Cost of Ownership was ignored and consequently IT system security and interoperability degraded over time.

Recommendations We Discussed

You can read some of the recommendations made from discussions between Xentity Architects and OMB Chief Architects below. They mainly concern the future IT progression in the Federal Government.

Organization Information Role

– Institutionalized Funding for Enabling Government to Government (G2G) IT Services at GSA

– Position Government to Citizen (G2C) Services as High-Available Service Centers

– Focus Mission on Data Services training on Data Lifecycle that allows Private, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), Citizens to build on top of

– Increase Enterprise Architecture (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 Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA)/ Federal Segment Architecture Methodology FSAM v2

– Establish Chief Information Officer (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 Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)/Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Requirements to lower O&M

– Continue Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI)

– Guide 2nd Consolidation Phase through taking advantage of Common Programming Interface for Communication (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