One goal, but I hope never the only goal, of Enterprise Architecture (EA) is to help understand and manage and indeed improve the value of IT spend. Many techniques are employed, including tying EA strategic requirements to project portfolio decision making, planning lower cost alternatives, and many others.
However, one technique that is now visible online for all of us to view is the US Federal Government’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) consolidation of agency EA reports. OMB has been collecting EA data from the agencies for a while now, and along with the common EA content (process, information, applications, infrastructure, etc.) mapped to the FEA reference models (PRM, BRM, SRM, DRM, TRM), they have also collected spend info in these categories.
OMB is very interested in the money — and see’s EA as a way to control spend better than before. Basically: have a plan to spend, then spend according to the plan. EA is a big part of the basic “architect, invest, implement” mantra I hear at the Chief Architect Forum (CAF) meetings I get to attend locally here in the Washington DC area.
Now this data has been collected and represented in a way that we can all see how the spend in IT is allocated to the FEA BRM (business reference model) categories:
For example, you can see how much each of 11 agencies spent (2008) and plans to spend (2009) on “Disaster Preparedness and Planning” and that DHS is spending 81% of the total ($178M). You can continue to drill down into how the Dept of Interior is spending their 2% to see that it comes from 3 bureaus, that one (National Park Service) is spending on fire effects monitoring databases, and from there you can call up the Dept of Interior OMB-300 and see more detail on the IQCS application.
This certainly is visibility and transparency of spending info. We can all view it in VUE-IT.
While I wanted to make sure to highlight this new public approach to EA, I also wanted to ask some questions:
- Is this something you CAN do in your enterprise? I bet not.
- Is this something you WANT to do in your enterprise? I bet some of your stakeholders would like this (CFO, for example).
- What would it take for you to do this? Lots of new work, EA tools, etc. at least.
But, mostly, I’d like to see you answer this question: Is this a critically important thing for EA to do?