Information Technology:

A Framework for Assessing and Improving Enterprise Architecture Management (Version 1.1) (Superseded by GAO-10-846G)

GAO-03-584G: Published: Apr 1, 2003. Publicly Released: Apr 1, 2003.

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This publication is superseded by GAO-10-846G, Organizational Transformation: A Framework for Assessing and Improving Enterprise Architecture Management (Version 2.0), August 2010. Effective use of enterprise architectures is a recognized hallmark of successful public and private organizations. For over a decade, GAO has promoted the use of architectures, recognizing them as a crucial means to a challenging goal: agency operational structures that are optimally defined, in both business and technological environments. The alternative, as GAO's work has shown, is perpetuation of the kinds of operational environments that saddle most agencies today, in which lack of integration among business operations and supporting information technology (IT) resources leads to inefficiencies and duplication. Why are enterprise architectures so important? Metaphorically, an enterprise architecture is to an organization's operations and systems as a set of blue prints is to a building. That is, building blueprints provide those who own, construct, and maintain the building with a clear and understandable picture of the building's uses, features, functions, and supporting systems, including relevant building standards. Further, the building blueprints capture the relationships among building components and govern the construction process. Enterprise architectures provide to people at all organizational levels an explicit, common, and meaningful structural frame of reference that allows and understanding of (1) what the enterprise does; (2) when, where, how, and why it does it; and (3) what it uses to do it.

Through our research of best IT management practices and our evaluation of agency IT management performance, we have identified a set of essential and complementary management disciplines. These include IT investment management, software/system development and acquisition management, IT services acquisition management, IT human capital management, information security management, and enterprise architecture management. Using the results of this research and evaluation, we have developed various IT management frameworks and guides. The federal Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council, at times in collaboration with us, has also published such guidance documents. In building on this portfolio of guidance documents, we offer here the first update to our maturity framework for enterprise architecture management. Its purpose is to provide federal agencies with a common benchmarking tool for planning and measuring their efforts to improve enterprise architecture management, as well as to provide the Office of Management and Budget with a means for doing the same governmentwide. This update is based on comments received on the initial version. Like the initial version, the update extends A Practical Guide to Federal Enterprise Architecture, Version 1.0, published by the CIO Council, by arranging the core elements in that guide into a matrix of five hierarchical stages and four critical success attributes.

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