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Enterprise Architecture: The Outcome-Driven Blueprint for IT

It’s been ten years, and you finally have saved enough money for your dream home. You hire an architect, give him your ideas, find a plot of land, and pay your first installment. When you ask for a projection of the house, he refuses to make a blueprint and says he can “wing it.”

At this point, panic might be setting in, along with feelings that this architect is a fraud. The idea of investing in a large project and not having a defined plan is not only terrifying, but it’s costly and time consuming. In the IT world, enterprise architecture is the plan, or blueprint, to help enable agencies and organizations to run more efficiently. But unlike building a home, the enterprise architecture blueprint comes after the organization is already functioning.

On Tuesday’s special edition of GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER, we discussed the importance of enterprise architecture, how it can make agency run more efficiently, and how to adjust each enterprise architecture plan according to the mission of the agency.

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Christopher Dorobek spoke with three professionals knowledgeable on the enterprise architecture subject:

  • Richard Burk, former chief architect at the Office of Management and Budget
  • Robert Damashek, chief architect, Binary Group
  • Rose Wang, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Binary Group

In order to understand the importance of enterprise architecture and how to utilize it effectively, the panelists defined the role of EA.

“EA is collaborative planning. In order to be successful and implement a new system, you have to have all the stakeholders involved.” Damashek said. EA is a tool for keeping everyone focused and aligned.”

“It matters because the basic thing government wants to do is accomplish it’s mission, and if you don’t have a plan, you aren’t going to be as effective as you’d want to be,” Burk added. “It is a way to link the mission of the agency with technology.”

The panelist stressed that enterprise architecture planning is successful when approaching it with a focus on the mission of the agency your working with.

“It’s an outcome-driven enterprise approach,” Wang explained. “Know what the business wants, who are the stakeholders, what are the political leaders, what do they want to do, and are they in line.”

Wang stressed the approach that EA professionals must take when working with different organizations and the agency-specific structure behind each EA plan. Each EA process is dependent on the mission of the organization in need.

“How we get there doesn’t matter,” Wang stated. “What we do doesn’t matter, just that we got there and that we reached the goals of the organization and did what they wanted.”

“Effectively, it doesn’t matter to anyone but you how you get results,” Wang continued. “You need to ask the stakeholders, ‘What do you need?’ That’s how you get enterprise architecture to matter at agencies, you have to reframe the conversation.”

“Stop trying to sell enterprise architecture and try to focus on the business and sell,” Burk added.

Damashek continued the conversation with some advice about how to be a more successful EA professional. “There is good info out there, but you have to listen. Be able to set aside any preconceived notion of an organization, and see yourself as a facilitator.”

So how do we get more people on board with the enterprise architecture trend?

“Focus attention on the business rather than the techniques agencies use and what goals each of the stakeholders want to achieve,” said Damashek. “Describe what you’re doing in a way that is important to congress and what agency you are serving.”

For the full archive, listen here.

You can also register now for next month’s DorobekINSIDER LIVE: Opening Up About Open Data.

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