Information Technology:

INS Needs to Better Manage the Development of Its Enterprise Architecture

AIMD-00-212: Published: Aug 1, 2000. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 2000.

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GAO reviewed the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS) development of an enterprise architecture, focusing on the: (1) status of INS' efforts; and (2) effectiveness of INS' structures and processes for managing this development effort.

GAO noted that: (1) INS recognizes that it does not have an enterprise architecture and has taken some limited steps to develop one; (2) however, it has considerable work left to accomplish before it will have a complete, and thus useful, enterprise architecture; (3) moreover, its approach to managing the development of its architecture lacks fundamental controls; (4) specifically, INS' Office of Information Resources Management (OIRM), which is the organization responsible for managing INS' information technology (IT), functions and assets, has, in isolation from INS business owners, put together a bottom-up description of INS' IT environment and it has mapped its software applications to INS' three major business areas; (5) this is a reasonable start to describing INS' architectural environment; (6) however, important steps still need to be accomplished, such as linking the systems environment description to a decomposed view of INS' business areas, including each area's component business functions and subfunctions, and information needs and flows among functions and subfunctions; (7) doing this with any degree of reliability, however, requires business owners to validate the resultant linkages; (8) also, INS has not begun developing either a target architecture or a plan for sequencing between its current architecture and a target architecture; (9) in lieu of the target architecture, OIRM is developing what it calls an "initial" target architecture that, according to the architecture team leader, is a 2-year plan for correcting known system-level problems; (10) this plan will basically describe near-term system maintenance efforts and will not provide a definition of the business and systems environments needed to optimize INS' mission performance; (11) INS' limited steps to date to develop an enterprise architecture are due to the absence of certain fundamental management structures and processes associated with successful architecture development; (12) INS has focused on the technology layers of enterprise architecture, rather than on an agency-wide effort that includes participation by INS business owners; (13) INS' architecture development efforts are not being managed as a formal program; (14) also, these efforts do not include performance measures and progress reporting requirements to ensure that the effort is progressing satisfactorily; and (15) without these management controls, it is unlikely that INS will produce a complete and useful enterprise architecture.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The resources necessary to manage the enterprise architecture (EA) effort were provided. INS, among other things, hired contractor support to develop the EA and made available subject matter experts to assist in the development of the business architecture.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of INS should ensure that the program office receives the resources necessary to meet approved plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: INS is formally managing its enterprise architecture (EA) development efforts. First, INS established a management structure including business area teams, an integration team, a reference group, and an Investment Approval Board to develop and oversee its EA development efforts. Second, INS developed a detailed project plan with milestones and schedules. Third, INS defined cost and schedule performance measures to track program progress. Last, INS periodically reported progress on its EA development efforts to its Investment Approval Board and the Department of Justice.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of INS should require that the program be formally managed, including having detailed plans, performance measures, and progress reporting.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: INS used the Chief Information Officer Council's Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework to guide its enterprise architecture development efforts. INS coordinated its efforts with the Department of Justice to ensure compliance with relevant departmental policies and procedures.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of INS should require that the enterprise architecture be developed in accordance with federal guidance and relevant Department of Justice policies and guidance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: INS established an enterprise architecture (EA) program office and program manager with responsibility for developing the EA, within the Office of Strategic Information and Technology Development (SITD). SITD is responsible for overseeing the development of INS' EA, and its Director reports directly to INS' Investment Approval Board, which has corporate oversight of the EA development effort.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of INS should establish an enterprise architecture program office and program manager, reporting to this corporate oversight body, and assign the program office and manager responsibility, authority, and accountability for developing an enterprise architecture.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: INS assigned responsibility and accountability for development of its enterprise architecture to the Office of Strategic Information and Technology Development (SITD). The SITD Director reports directly to INS' Investment Approval Board.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of INS should assign responsibility and accountability for overseeing the development of an enterprise architecture to INS' investment resources board or some other corporate executive steering committee that the Commissioner may choose to establish.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The INS Commissioner designated the development of a complete enterprise architecture (EA)as a priority. INS also established structures and controls to manage the EA development. For example, INS established an executive body to oversee its EA development efforts, established a program office with responsibility for developing the EA, and developed a detailed project plan with milestones and schedules, and defined cost and schedule performance measures to track progress.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should direct the Commissioner of INS to designate development of a complete enterprise architecture, to include both a current and target architecture and a plan for moving between the two, as an agencywide priority and manage it as such.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: INS completed its enterprise architecture and submitted it to the Department of Justice's Chief Information Officer (CIO) in accordance with GAO's recommendation. The Justice CIO conditionally approved the enterprise architecture in January 2003, stating that it represented a "good initial foundation."

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of INS should submit the complete enterprise architecture to the Department of Justice Chief Information Officer for approval.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security

 

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