NASCIO offers help on writing business cases

NASCIO Adaptive Enterprise Architecture Development Program

Assistance in writing business cases and measurement of progress on enterprise architecture are among the enhancements that officials at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers plan to offer during the next year.

NASCIO's latest grant from the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs is the sixth year of funding for the NASCIO Adaptive Enterprise Architecture Development Program. Council members have already developed an enterprise architecture toolkit, a maturity model and assessment program, a library of videos, and other educational material for everyone from information technology professionals to political executives. Enterprise architecture is also a critical issue for state CIOs using the council's Strategic Materials and Resources Tool, a national repository for best practices and lessons learned.

The $500,000 grant for fiscal 2005 will go to eight initiatives that will serve as resources for state and local officials, including the creation an enterprise architecture business case development guide and a marketing and awareness guide, enhancement of the EA Maturity Model, and expansion of the number of assessments and validation site visits.

Enterprise architecture "is still so new, it's an evolving beast, and no one totally understands it," said Vince Havens, program manager for the development project.

NASCIO officials intend for their work to help state and local CIOs make decisions based on best practices and lessons learned so that they can make good choices from the myriad of possible processes and ideas.

One of the most significant enhancements will be available in October. The EA Tool-Kit includes information on building governance for architecture and the specifics of technical, business process, solutions, information and program management architectures. Right now, the EA Maturity Model includes only an assessment of the governance and technical aspects. But because agencies have had a chance to work on other areas, NASCIO officials want to include them in the site visits, Havens said.

This year's grant is significantly smaller than last year's $1.25 million, and NASCIO officials had to cut back several additional enhancements, including adding a security section to the EA Tool-Kit and providing more than introductory information about other sections, Havens said. The work that will be done, however, covers many areas that are critical to moving enterprise architecture forward at the state and local level, he said.

NASCIO officials are also looking to tap funding from other federal agencies, either through grants or other means, as state officials are building architectures that encompass other functional areas. Their architectures includes areas such as environmental protection, health and transportation. But sources of funding for cross-government enterprise architecture are far less clear-cut in those areas, Havens said.

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