OMB to release architecture models soon

Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office

The Office of Management and Budget plans to have all five of its federal enterprise architecture models available by next month, an OMB official said this week.

Agencies have current versions for three of the five enterprise architecture models: business, service component and technical reference. Federal departments have been testing a fourth — the performance reference model — which should be released publicly "any day now," said Norm Lorentz, OMB's outgoing chief technology officer. Agency officials plan to release the draft of the last model — data reference — to agencies Oct. 6, he said, speaking yesterday at the E-Gov Enterprise Architecture conference.

Having all five reference models available next month will make it easier to issue guidance for OMB Circular A-11 in a timely fashion, Lorentz said. The guidance for A-11 defines what information must be included in agencies' budget submissions. For information technology investments, A-11 outlines the requirements for Section 300, the official name for IT business cases.

Lorentz said he was "less than happy" about agencies not getting the final guidance for A-11 until July, which was late considering that agencies must submit their fiscal 2005 requests this month.

Continual changes in the federal enterprise architecture reference models delayed the guidance's release, Lorentz said. Agencies use those models to ensure that their IT investments fit with those being made across government.

Agencies completed their 2005 business cases by the submission deadline, but getting the A-11 guidelines so late made it very complicated and caused a lot of reworking of submissions, said Scott Bernard, assistant professor at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies and a consultant on business case development to five agencies during this last cycle.

"We need that guidance in April, not in July," Bernard said.

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