GAO issues enterprise architecture guide

A Framework for Assessing and Improving Enterprise Architecture Management

The General Accounting Office has issued a guide for assessing and improving enterprise architectures, intended to help agencies manage their own efforts in the area.

GAO has consistently identified "the lack of an architecture as a major management weakness," according to the guide.

The guide updates GAO's enterprise architecture management maturity framework, which the agency issued in February 2002. The new version, which GAO has dubbed Version 1.1, contains 31 core elements of effective enterprise management.

Among them:

* An organization should have adequate resources — the funding, people, tools and technology — to establish and manage its architecture.

* An organization should designate a qualified person to be chief architect, responsible and accountable for the architecture.

* An organization should have plans describing the enterprise as it is and as it is to become, and a sequence for making the transition from present to future state.

* An organization should have plans for developing metrics to track progress, quality, compliance and return on investment.

* An organization should be able to measure and report on the plan's progress.

GAO's guide also presents an enterprise architecture maturity model divided into five stages. The stages range from creating awareness through developing enterprise architecture products to the final stage of using the architecture to manage change.

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