OMB pushes e-gov plans quickly

By the end of June, Office of Management and Budget officials want to have versions of the target architectures for three lines of business initiatives meant to improve government efficiency.

Following the April 15 release of a request for information to vendors to come up with the architecture and solutions for three lines of business, officials want the information to influence the agency officials' budget preparations, said Richard Brozen, on detail from NASA to support OMB's Federal Enterprise Architecture-Program Management Office.

"It's an extremely aggressive timeframe so it will sync up with the fiscal 2006 budget development," Brozen said, speaking today at the Government Enterprise Architecture Conference in Arlington, Va.

OMB expects to release a draft of the common solutions and target architectures by June 30, after vendors submit their ideas by May 17. A final solution and draft joint business cases for the line of business common solution will be completed by Aug. 1 and the final joint business cases for the lines of business solution will be finished by Sept. 1, Brozen said. The RFI released last month sought information on financial, human resources and grants management solutions. The other two identified areas are federal health architecture and case management.

The lines of business initiatives are a direct product of the federal enterprise architecture, demonstrating the results that can be realized from the governmentwide framework, Brozen said. This is unlike the first 24 e-government initiatives which first identified the common solution and later fit into the enterprise architecture. For the lines of business, there is not a predetermined common solution, Brozen said, and officials have reached out to industry to present these ideas.

Brozen emphasized the link between the federal enterprise architecture and agencies' individual architectures, describing the federal framework as more of a taxonomy to describe a common way of communicating and examining projects across government.

"We recognize that these are inexplicably linked and one can not be had with out the other," he said. "The [federal enterprise architecture] binds these architectures together."

One of the challenges of the enterprise architecture is tying it to other processes within agencies, said Scott Bittler, vice president of enterprise planning and architecture strategies for the META group, also speaking today at the conference. To make the concept truly take hold within agencies, it has to be integrated into other disciplines, such as business processes, strategic planning and project management, he said.

"We need to think about the value in living the plan," Bittler said. "This makes it hard for people to get a handle on."

Integrating the federal enterprise architecture with other government processes is still in the early phases, Brozen said. It is a constantly evolving concept and must remain dynamic to be successful in informing business decisions.

"We recognize that any planning activity is not static activity," he said. "We believe an enterprise architecture is part of a process, that it is responding to a series of business drivers. It is a recognition that this is not a static system."

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