Ohio learns lesson about good architecture

Ohio's experience is an example of the need to keep your eyes on the prize

when it comes to an enterprise architecture.

When the state made its first attempt to build an architecture several

years ago, it was still caught up in tackling the Year 2000 problem and

the focus was not where it should have been. The components of the architecture

were fragmented and did not mesh well together, and agency buy-in of the

concept had not been secured.

"That first time around was very hard for us," said Mary Carroll, the

data systems administrator in the state's Department of Administrative Services.

"But we learned a lot from the experience. Now we think we are in a much

better position to decide on and direct an enterprise architecture."

What's different now than two years ago is "the business push," she

said.

"We have to convince people on the business side who say they don't

understand technology and can't help with this that, in fact, they can,"

she said. "And we [in technology] have to tell them not to worry about that,

that we need to understand the business side and that we'll take care of

the technology."

The most difficult thing, she said, is getting it all to happen fast

enough. But it comes down to making choices, and in this case, the choice

was to get agencies actively involved in the process. That slows the process

down, but it's also considered critical to the success of the whole program.

Meanwhile, Ohio is progressing as much as it can. Officials are focusing

on the security component of the architecture as a critical element of the

final puzzle and will overlap other components as they are developed.

The first publication of the new version of the architecture is expected

around the middle of 2002.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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