Key Issues > Modernization Blueprints
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Modernization Blueprints

A key to successfully leveraging information technology for organizational transformation is having and using an enterprise architecture—or modernization blueprint—as an authoritative frame of reference against which to assess and decide how individual system investments are defined, designed, acquired, and developed.

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Experience has shown that attempting to modernize and maintain information technology environments without an architecture to guide and constrain investments results in mission operations and supporting systems that are duplicative, not well-integrated, and costly to maintain, and thus are inefficient and ineffective in achieving institutional goals and performance measures.

  • Work across the federal government shows that federal agency enterprise architecture efforts can be viewed as a work in progress, with much remaining to be accomplished. Further, leadership is key in overcoming specific long-standing enterprise architecture challenges, such as receiving adequate funding and attaining sufficient senior leadership understanding.
  • GAO’s Enterprise Architecture Management Maturity Framework emphasizes the need for agencies to measure and report the results and outcomes attained by their enterprise architecture programs to assist in demonstrating the value of their respective programs and identifying what, if any, enterprise architecture program changes are needed.
  • While some progress has been made across the government, more time is needed for agencies to fully realize the value of having well-defined and implemented architectures. Such value can be derived from realizing cost savings through consolidation and reuse of shared services and elimination of antiquated and redundant mission operations, enhancing information sharing through data standardization and system integration, and optimizing service delivery through streamlining and normalization of business processes and mission operations.
  • Knowing whether benefits and results are in fact being achieved requires having associated measures and metrics. However, while some agencies have established a method or metrics for measuring outcomes resulting from the use of their enterprise architectures (e.g., cost savings), most are still not measuring and reporting these outcomes and benefits based on established methods and metrics.
Looking for our recommendations? Click on any report to find each associated recommendation and its current implementation status.

Organizational Transformation:

Enterprise Architecture Value Needs to Be Measured and Reported
GAO-12-791:
Published: Sep 26, 2012. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 2012.

Organizational Transformation:

Military Departments Can Improve Their Enterprise Architecture Programs
GAO-11-902:
Published: Sep 26, 2011. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 2011.

Information Technology:

Organizational Transformation:

More Reports

Surface Ships:

Navy Needs to Revise Its Decommissioning Policy to Improve Future Decision Making
GAO-14-412:
Published: Jun 11, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 11, 2014.

Information Technology:

Military Capabilities:

Navy Should Reevaluate Its Plan to Decommission the USS Port Royal
GAO-14-336:
Published: Apr 8, 2014. Publicly Released: Apr 8, 2014.

Information Technology:

Border Security:

DHS Needs to Strengthen Its Efforts to Modernize Key Enforcement Systems
GAO-14-342T:
Published: Feb 6, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 6, 2014.

Defense Logistics:

Army Should Track Financial Benefits Realized from its Logistics Modernization Program
GAO-14-51:
Published: Nov 13, 2013. Publicly Released: Nov 13, 2013.

Information Technology:

Additional OMB and Agency Actions Are Needed to Achieve Portfolio Savings
GAO-14-65:
Published: Nov 6, 2013. Publicly Released: Nov 6, 2013.

Unemployment Insurance Information Technology:

States Face Challenges in Modernization Efforts
GAO-13-859T:
Published: Sep 11, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 2013.

Medicare Information Technology:

Federal Housing Administration:

Analysis of Options for Modifying Its Products, Market Presence, and Powers
GAO-13-682:
Published: Sep 9, 2013. Publicly Released: Oct 22, 2013.
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  • portrait of Carol Cha
    • Carol Cha
    • Director, Information Technology Acquisition Management Issues
    • chac@gao.gov
    • (202) 512-4456