OMB to post IT checklist

The Office of Management and Budget's message to agencies is clear: Don't ask for money to fund an information technology system if a similar system already exists.

This week, OMB plans to post a list of governmentwide information systems that support business operations and public services. Federal managers are to use this list to find similar services or systems before making an IT budget request.

If managers find a service or program that is similar in the so-called business reference model, OMB officials want managers at the respective agencies to work together to use or build a single system, thereby reducing the amount of redundant spending on IT.

The business reference model, a fundamental piece of the Bush administration's E-Government Strategy, "depicts, from a process view, truly the entire enterprise of the federal government," said Norman Lorentz, OMB's chief technology officer.

OMB plans to post the model July 18 in time for IT managers to use it to make budget requests for fiscal 2004. OMB will begin formulating the fiscal 2004 budget request for the Bush administration this fall.

The business reference model splits the business of government into three areas, Lorentz said: citizen services, support services and government enterprise operations. Under each area of business are the many subfunctions that are the agency applications and services.

The business reference model is part of the federal enterprise architecture, which Debra Stouffer began to assemble while on detail to OMB in January. "They're taking what I built, and applying it to making smart budget decisions," said Stouffer, now CTO at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The work on the enterprise architecture and the business reference model continues with the Solutions Architects Working Group, which is overseen by Bob Haycock, who is on detail as chief architect at OMB from the Interior Department.

The working group is developing two key pieces of the business reference model: a management and oversight plan that will ensure consistency in updates and new releases, and a business performance reference model, which will be the framework that OMB will use to measure investment outcomes.

Other reference models, such as those for data, applications and technology, are at various points of development and will be released in the coming months, he said.

The business reference model will be available on a Web site accessible only by agency personnel, although parts of it likely will be released to the public in time, Lorentz said.

This year, OMB pulled together the information in the business reference model from agencies' fiscal 2003 budget requests. However, in the future, agencies will be expected to update and manage their portions of the model themselves, Lorentz said.

All enterprise architecture work will be done through the Enterprise Architecture Management System (EAMS), a Web-based repository structured around the business reference model, Lorentz said. Many agencies are already using Extensible Markup Language-based capital planning tools such as the IT Investment Portfolio System, but OMB also is developing an XML schema to integrate all agency capital planning information into EAMS, Lorentz said.


Building blocks

Timeline for the pieces of the federal enterprise architecture:

Business reference model -- Available July 18

Business performance reference model -- Draft due mid-August

Data reference model -- Under development

Application capability reference model -- Draft due mid-September

Technology reference model -- Draft due mid-September


E-Government Strategy (PDF)

Federal Enterprise Architecture presentation (PowerPoint

"OMB takes aim at redundant IT" [, June 26, 2002]

"A-11 revisions stress planning" [Federal Computer Week, June 17, 2002]

"Making e-gov work" [Federal Computer Week, June 3, 2002]

"XML marks the spot" [Federal Computer Week, April 15, 2002]

"Plug and play" [Federal Computer Week, April 1, 2002]


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