Consulting firm opens EA center

Thomas & Herbert has opened an enterprise architecture "Center of Excellence," a forum for agency officials, industry personnel and others to meet and discuss critical issues related to architecture.

Clients of the consulting firm can use the center to hold structured discussions aimed at gaining insight into issues such as implementing the Office of Management and Budget-mandated lines of business, choosing the best governance model and similar concerns. The center will draw on the firm's consultants, collaborative software from GroupSystems, and enterprise architecture software tools.

Mike Dunham, who served as senior enterprise architect at the Treasury Department through December 2004 is now chief enterprise architect at Thomas & Herbert and has helped to develop the center.

"We're trying to craft it around lessons that I learned at Treasury," he said.

Many agency architects are still trying to get other officials on board with the concept, and that's one issue the Center of Excellence can help with, he said. The key he learned is to first sell the idea "wholesale," meaning talking up the concept in general, to targeting individual business unit managers and creating a "retail" message to show them how the architecture can make their daily jobs easier.

Mark Forman, who headed up e-government at OMB before leaving for private industry, is chairman of an advisory board that the firm created to guide the Center of Excellence effort. Other advisory board members include Felix Rausch, the executive director of the Federal Enterprise Architecture Certification Institute, and Jonathan Breul, IBM Partner for Business Consulting Services.

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