When enterprise architects examine the information required to plan, organize, lead, and manage their EA, the information set is a bit different from that required by the private sector. These questions are just a bit different than those that would engage a private sector organization’s leadership, partly because of the unique nature of the business of the federal government. Of course, part of it can be directly tied to specific regulations that require certain information be available to external stakeholders (Congress). By and large however, federal EAs are interested and confronted by the same issues as their private sector counterparts. The same pressures surrounding doing more with less budget, transformational technology and trends (cloud, social, big data), evolving compliance requirements, and operational environments are changing the lives of executives, regardless of their affiliation with private or public sector. One way that I like to look at this core set of information is to break it into six major components or domains as follows:
- Performance Domain: is about understanding how the organization measures performance. This area does not hold the actual assessments against key performance indicators, but rather is focused on what is being measured and how it is being measured. This domain should enable executives to understand the performance management system that is in place for the organization and enable them to see linkages across all of the component parts that enable enterprise performance. Helps answer these questions:
- How are we measuring performance across the enterprise?
- How do my investments align to the performance management strategy (e.g. PRM)?
- What is being measured via Key Performance Indicators across my organization?
- Business Domain: includes the information related to the business processes, investments, and organizational structure of the organization. A review of the business domain should enable an executive to understand informal and formal organizational structures, the business processes leveraged by those organizations, and the investments of the organization. Helps answer these questions:
- How are my investments performing in terms of cost and schedule?
- What is the likelihood and impact of various risks to the projects in my organization?
- How do my investments align to strategy?
- Are my investments being managed properly?
- Information Domain: includes an understanding of the critical information leveraged by the organization. This domain should enable executives to understand the strategic role of data within the organization. It should also identify areas of opportunity based on a helping identify the relationship between key business concepts, processes and applications working together in the integrated enterprise. Helps answer these questions:
- How is the data we’re collecting being categorized?
- Are my applications implementing proper data exchange models?
- What data is being exchanged between applications?
- What data should be exchanged?
- Applications & Services Domain: enables executives to understand how technologies and resources are combined to create applications and provide services. This domain provides insight into the combinations of things that create business and organizational value. Helps answer these questions:
- Are my applications in the appropriate infrastructure?
- Do I have all of my major applications in an appropriate location?
- What applications are running on non-standard technologies?
- Are there similar applications in the enterprise that I can leverage to generate cost-savings?
- Assets, Technology & Infrastructure: enables the organization to understand the the critical infrastructure, technology and resources required to provide value. These run the gamut of enterprise value from datacenters and radio towers, to manufacturing plants and forklifts. The granularity of the information required by executives from this domain will vary widely. Helps answer these questions:
- What will be the impact of migrating technology to different stages of its lifecycle?
- Do we have an appropriate level of data center consolidation?
- How is technology distributed throughout the organization?
- Security & Risk: enables executives to understand the juxtaposition of risk and security as it pertains to the delivery of value and the ongoing operation of the organization. This area should enable executives to understand how physically secure their assets are in the bricks and mortar world, as well as how secure the informational aspects that support the organization’s value chain are supported as well. Helps answer these questions:
- How well are we protected against known security threats?
- How informed is my organization about security best practices?
- How many security incidents have occurred in the last 30 days?
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