Meyerrose: Solve problems to sell EA

Enterprise architecture should focus on solving business problems rather than emphasize information technology, and decision-makers must see it solve problems before they will believe in it, said Maj. Gen. Dale Meyerrose, associate director of national intelligence and chief information officer at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Meyerrose’s speech this morning at FCW Events’ Enterprise Architecture Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C., echoed a major theme of the conference: selling enterprise architecture to agency leaders.

For starters, he advises against using the term “enterprise architecture.” He said he has presented the office’s director with enterprise architecture ideas numerous times without mentioning those two words. Instead, he shows how his ideas align with the office’s goals.

“Without alignment, you should cease and desist what you’re doing,” he said.

Enterprise architecture gives an agencywide overview of how to improve processes and operations so they run more efficiently and effectively. It integrates systems and helps avoid duplicative efforts.

Once such a system starts solving business problems, agency officials will begin to believe in enterprise architecture, Meyerrose said.

In a panel discussion Sept. 12, Richard Burk, chief architect at the Office of Management and Budget, said OMB plans to create metrics to measure enterprise architecture’s relationship to solving business problems.

“Architecture is how you think,” Meyerrose said. “It’s how you solve problems. It’s who you are and what you need to do and what you should become.”

According to a Government Accountability Office report released Sept. 12, most agencies have initial leadership support for such efforts. But many conference speakers said some leaders believe only enough to satisfy OMB’s requirements.

Meyerrose said many agency officials do not believe in enterprise architecture, but it becomes relevant to them once they can see how they are a part of it.

“Isn’t that when the business of architecture starts?” he asked.

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