Art of Abstraction in the Investigational Architecture work – Defeating the Devious Art of Obfuscation
Bell Curves as statistical derivatives provide excellent hindsight in a single agent market or in a homogenous system. However, they breakdown in a multi-agent market or heterogeneous system, where Fractals provide better foresight as opposed to statistical hind sight based evaluation into multi agent market characterized by heterogeneous open loop architecture. If you are engaged as an Enterprise Architect and required to conduct investigational architectural work to explore the deficiencies within an enterprise exploring for opportunities for modernization, among the first things you will look for are the ‘bell curves’ along all domains within an enterprise. The business functional and also the organizational cultural behaviors displaying ‘bell curves’ are the behaviors of the past following monopolistic trait as found in organizations formed to promote protective behaviors. When extreme individualization is the norm evolving, ‘bell curves’ as the behavior traits are certainly of the past. Abstraction help observe and identify one such form. All abstractions help in understanding the complexity either cultural or IT system behaviors via conceptual models. Like the fundamental laws that help in better explaining complexities of the physical nature, architectural abstractions help observe and explain system complexities.
Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework based on Zachman’s EA Framework, Capital Planning and Investment Control along with Enterprise Architecture Transition Planning provides a mechanism to establish ‘Line Of Sight’ (LOS). LOS operates to substantiate the architectural decisions including the budgetary to investment decisions. These help in exposing all the architectural elements, that other-wise lie buried beneath the organization’s enterprise architecture. Based on the exposed architectural elements and the transparent architectural design decisions, the Office Of Management and Budget (OMB) (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/) makes budgetary decisions and also evaluates agencies expenditures, while also recasting the expected budgetary concerns. Furthermore, these lend into U.S. Government Accountability Office. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is known as “the investigative arm of Congress” and “the congressional watchdog.” GAO supports the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and helps improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. GAO’s work includes oversight of federal programs; insight into ways to make government more efficient, effective, ethical and equitable; and foresight of long-term trends and challenges. GAO’s reports, testimonies, legal decisions and opinions make a difference for Congress and the Nation.
In theory FEA, OMB, GAO – All work together in ensuring that millions to billions of dollars spent is put into worthwhile cause for the citizens, and that they are enacted based on scientifically planned decisions. This is an interlocking discipline that brings economics, management, strategy, planning, architecture, technology, sociology etc into a dynamic structure within the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework. Leveraging such a discipline, it is also possible to analyze and identify attempts for obfuscation that is rampant in industry both in the private and the public sector. When millions of dollars are involved, along comes the frailness of humans.
Also, there exists Inspector General’s Office (http://www.oig.doc.gov/oig/ ;), (http://oig.hhs.gov/). There are several such offices for each Agency, where anyone suspecting fraudulent practices or doubtful decisions can lodge a complain anonymously.
Do all these work?
Government is by the citizens and for the citizens. It is the duty of the citizens to make it work. So, the answer is when ‘will’ among the people emerges then the system will certainly work. There are many failed examples or systemic breakdowns. Besides natural entropic conditions, the vile of the human (both in corporate and federal) has contributed to the systemic break-down. And, unfortunately innocent citizens bear its burnt.
In the information age, information from the information superhighway is inundating, also providing much opportunities for obfuscation to be schemed and exploited for fraudulent gains. All such things are planned in the hope of escaping in the morass, until they are discovered by an analytical process. Obfuscation is the biggest evil in the information society.
Enterprise Architecture Framework, especially the Federal Framework in theory has the hope to promote analytical arguments for facilitating any modernization planning enabled by Information Technology and in tackling the emerging monster – Obfuscation.
Non-actionable thoughts are impotent Thought Leadership.