USAID shows a different side of EA than many organizations see. Far too often, EA becomes an exercise in generating copious quantities of documentation of dubious business value. In other organizations, the supposed EA effort is buried deep within the IT department and thus has little influence over how the organization as a whole achieves its strategic goals. Of course, many organizations' EA efforts suffer from both pitfalls at once.
Fundamentally, USAID's success with EA sets the standard for how EA is supposed to facilitate business goals-not only within the federal government, but for any organization with an EA program. As USAID has illustrated, EA done properly drives business value in measurable, verifiable terms.
Analysis: What CIOs Look for in an Enterprise Architect
As the familiar management adage says, you can't manage what you can't measure. USAID's approach to EA establishes both appropriate business-centric metrics and the internal processes and governance necessary to conduct the corresponding measurements.
The end result: USAID executive management now has the luxury to run the organization by leveraging IT resources aligned with the dynamic goals of the organization. In short, it's not the inflexible money sink found in far too many enterprise IT shops today. Taxpayer can also rest assured knowing that foreign aid can improve economic conditions in the developing world, fight terrorism at its root and further American foreign policy goals without inefficient legacy IT environments soaking up those funds.
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