Enterprise architecture is the steak to cloud's sizzle for feds

By Jason Bloomberg, CIO |  Cloud Computing, enterprise architecture

  • Support improvement of mission-critical business processes via the identification and application of EA standards.
  • Guide efforts to locate, validate and promote the strategic use of agency information.
  • Facilitate analysis of the agency's hardware, software and enterprise applications.
  • Provide governance for USAID technology efforts by designing and supporting the implementation of EA models and standards.

The second milestone mentioned in the GAO report is to fully establish metrics and a method for measuring and reporting enterprise outcomes and benefits resulting from successfully implementing the EA strategy. Of the 27 departments and agencies the GAO evaluated, only three had successfully completed this milestone: the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and USAID. In particular, USAID had established metrics and guidance for measuring EA outcomes, focusing both on cost savings and avoidance due to process efficiency, technology standardization, consolidation and retirement. USAID also established metrics for client satisfaction based on client surveys that solicited opinions on the architecture's value to the business.

The third milestone is where USAID stands alone among federal agencies: It actually conducts the measurements that it set forth at the second milestone on a regular basis. In February 2012, for example, USAID reported a cost savings of $12.3 million and cost avoidance of $9.5 million from transitioning disparate human resource systems to a single HR shared services center, in conformance with its EA plan. The agency also conducted the corresponding measurements for its move to email-as-a-Service, reporting an estimated savings of $15.7 million, on an investment of $4 million, over the next five years.

How-To: How to Build an Always-On, Always-Available Enterprise

USAID's strong EA capabilities drove these cost savings. The agency used its architecture plan to select a shared services center as part of a broader data center consolidation initiative, and the architecture team pushed for cloud-based email based upon an ROI analysis for consolidating multiple installations of the previous email solution. This analysis quantified savings in hardware and software maintenance, among other expenses, providing a solid business case for the proposed changes.

You Can't Manage What You Can't Measure

Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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