Information Technology: Leadership Remains Key to Agencies Making Progress on Enterprise Architecture Efforts

GAO-04-40 Published: Nov 17, 2003. Publicly Released: Dec 18, 2003.
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A well-defined enterprise architecture (EA) is a blueprint for institutional modernization and evolution that consists of models describing how an entity operates today and how it intends to operate in the future, along with a plan for how it intends to transition to this future state. Such architectures are essential tools whose effective development and use are recognized hallmarks of successful organizations. Because of the importance of these architectures, GAO was asked to determine (1) what progress federal agencies have made in effectively developing, implementing, and maintaining their EAs and (2) the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) actions to advance the state of EA development and use across the federal government.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Management and Budget The OMB Director, in developing and implementing the plan we previously recommended to address governmentwide impediments to greater agency use of enterprise architectures, should ensure that the plan provides for identifying agencies that have effectively overcome enterprise architecture management challenges and sharing those and other lessons learned and best practices.
Closed – Implemented
In early 2004, OMB and the CIO council took steps to address this recommendation by establishing a Chief Architect Forum. The first meeting was held on April 5, 2004. This forum has created a means for chief architects across federal agencies to systematically collaborate on matters of mutual concern and interest. Vehicles for this collaboration among members include periodic meetings, a listserve to share information and ideas, and special gatherings that focus on specific issues. Further, OMB has developed an enterprise architecture best practice case study based on the Food and Drug Administration, which it has posted on the Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office web site. OMB plans to develop and post additional case studies as a way of disseminating information about lessons learned and best practices. These steps generally satisfy the intent of GAO's recommendation.
Office of Management and Budget The OMB Director, in annually reporting to the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Government Reform, should include in the report what steps have been taken to implement our recommendations, including reasons for not adopting our maturity framework.
Closed – Implemented
The President's Budgets for 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 have progressively increased the information OMB reports on enterprise architecture to Congress. Additionally, OMB officials stated that they continue to provide information to Congress on the state of agency EA efforts, including through participation in a variety of Congressional hearings. These actions are consistent with and generally satisfy the intent of GAO's recommendation.

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