Enterprise Integration (EI) is an inherently complex undertaking that tends to have a fairly high failure rate. Integration needs are difficult to predict and solve because there are multiple system silos with their own project plans that span several release cycles to manage. Keeping track of these multiple silos makes it difficult to determine and eliminate redundancies and track system interdependencies. With so many cogs in the integration wheel, it’s challenging for agency IT leaders to embrace EI. So how can we simplify integration processes to help CIOs leverage the benefits? It all starts with the how of EI.
Enterprise Architecture Tools and Goals
First and foremost, Enterprise Architecture (EA) tools and goals must align with agency goals.
A CIO’s job is not easy; most operate under strapped budgets and have lofty modernization objectives to meet. To succeed in EA modernization, they have to be able to maneuver an ever-changing IT market while continuing to offer employees and citizens an agile and transparent system architecture.
To that end, goals for EA should be clear and include knowing how to adapt IT systems to meet new market requirements, estimating costs of technology modernization, identifying areas for consolidating and reducing costs, and improving executive decision making.
What are Traditional EA Tools Good for Accomplishing?
Traditional EA tools are very good for single system design, process and application modeling, and defining project requirements. But, what traditional EA tools cannot do is give you a holistic and comprehensive view of all of your system architectures. As a result, these tools cannot speak to elements such as maximizing the value of an IT investment or understanding what applications are the most important to the processes they support.
With a great number of silos and lack of a 50,000-foot view, it is also difficult to determine where operating budget is being spent and which day-to-day applications are mission critical.
Additionally, traditional tools are not beneficial for cross project planning, providing visibility across multiple systems, and program mapping. Ultimately, current EA tools lack sufficient insight into the system.
How Can a Lack of Integrated Insight Impact your Agency?
Due to the inability to forecast reliably, the decision process slows and adds cost. As a result, agencies run the risk of engaging in the same arbitrary planning and budgeting processes, based on limited information with poor IT mission alignment.
At a time when agility and reducing cost is paramount to federal agency mission, how can CIOs take control over their EA integration?
By incorporating a different set of tools and utilizing Portfolio Management. Portfolio Management enables agency IT leaders to target the entire IT organization and can incorporate cost information at every layer. In many ways, Portfolio Management tools offer the much needed insights CIOs need to help guide their decision making.
Stay tuned for an upcoming post on the benefits of Portfolio Management for federal agencies.