This publication is superseded by GAO-10-846G, Organizational Transformation: A Framework for Assessing and Improving Enterprise Architecture Management (Version 2.0), August 2010.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.
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