OMB to ask agencies for metrics on EA effectiveness

OMB refines use of architectures

The question the Office of Management and Budget wants agencies to answer about their enterprise architectures is no longer “Do you have one?” Bush administration officials are now asking, “What affect is your architecture having on your mission?”

To figure that out, OMB is preparing guidance to help agencies develop metrics to measure the value of their modernization blueprints.

Richard Burk, OMB’s chief architect, said the guidance could be out as early as May after the Chief Architects Forum reviews it.

“The measures could be objective or subjective because the point of the EA is to inform decision-makers,” Burk said during a session at the FOSE tradeshow in Washington, D.C. “Agencies will develop some common, shared measures, and they will have to develop some mission-specific ones.”

Burk said some suggested metrics may include:
  • The percent of stakeholders finding work products useful to support decisions for the capital planning and investment control process.
  • The total cost savings or avoidance as a percentage of the agency’s total IT budget.
  • The consolidation of business cases submitted to OMB.
  • The percentage of stakeholders indicating that they use their enterprise architecture to make decisions in mission areas.
“You need to know how well you are doing and articulate that to the business side,” he said. “Otherwise you will become irrelevant. You must integrate the EA with the budget and find and show value.”

Developing metrics is one of the many focus areas of enterprise architecture for OMB in 2007. Burk said other areas include the continued evolution of the Federal Transition Framework, which will help agencies organize cross-agency initiatives.

OMB will expand the framework to include more governmentwide initiatives and help agencies plan better by adding more specific information. The framework lists 18 cross-agency projects, and Burk did not say how many more OMB would add.

He added that OMB wants to streamline and standardize the enterprise architecture assessment process by 2008.

“It is a long, drawn out process right now,” Burk said.

OMB also hopes to take enterprise architectures out of what Burk calls the IT ghetto and have agencies use it to drive mission decisions.

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