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CHIPS Articles: DON Enterprise Architecture Supports IT Business Transformation

DON Enterprise Architecture Supports IT Business Transformation
By Susan Shuryn and Victor Ecarma - July-September 2012
“As the defense budget has been significantly reduced and will likely stay flat for years to come, it is imperative that department personnel work together to find savings. By achieving savings through transformation of DON business IT systems and processes, the department can maximize funding for mission critical systems and continue to ensure the nation’s security. ”

A critical component to achieving cost savings is transparency of business information technology data, which provides needed insight into, and thus enables more effective management of, the financial and programmatic status of the enterprise. The Department of the Navy Enterprise Architecture (DON EA) process is essential to providing visibility of such vital information.

llustrated in Figure 1, the DON EA assessment process is cyclical and provides an authoritative repository of DON-wide programmatic data, in which strategic drivers are assessed, informed decision-making is enabled and policy development and refinement are facilitated. The intent is twofold: gauge and monitor the status of DON IT business transformation and promote organizational adoption of cost-saving initiatives.

The DON EA assessment process is outcome driven versus compliance driven. For example, outcomes drive the decision-making process for DON leadership. It is an iterative process that helps implement, modify and communicate strategic drivers and provides a means to measure intended outcomes. Through the five-stage process depicted in Figure 1, the DON EA leverages authoritative and predictable "trigger" events, enables enforcement and provides a mechanism for assessing whether established policies, goals and objectives are achieving the intended result on business IT. An overall value is that the DON EA process provides an ongoing communication channel between senior leadership and stakeholders that assists in developing effective decisions, both tactical and strategic.

In the following paragraphs, the current effort to consolidate data centers is used as an example of how the DON EA assessment process works.

1. Identifying Strategic Drivers

DON leadership identified data center consolidation (DCC) as a strategic imperative, with focus on identifying current data centers and consolidating appropriate data centers to achieve significant efficiencies and cost savings.

2. Establishing Policy

After identifying the DCC strategic driver, the DON CIO established relevant policy: "Department of the Navy Data Center Consolidation Policy Guidance". The memo, of July 20, 2011 established a moratorium on all DON investment in increased data storage capacity without determining that: (1) existing DON data center capacity is insufficient to meet the required capacity and (2) it is not more cost effective to expand capacity in an existing DON-owned Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) or Marine Corps enterprise or regional data center.

3. Creating Enterprise Artifacts

DON EA artifacts are composed of laws, regulations, policies, guidance, reference model components, and several reusable Department of Defense Architecture Framework 1.5 and 2.0 architectural views.

The DON EA v3.0.000, released Sept. 19, 2011, incorporated a new DON EA artifact based on the DCC moratorium. This particular artifact requires all DoD IT Portfolio Repository (DITPR)-DON registered systems to use available data storage at established DON, SPAWAR, NMCI or U.S. Marine Corps enterprise or regional data centers or to expanded data storage capacity in these same data centers. (Note: DON EA v3.1.000 was released April 2, 2012:

4. Leveraging DON EA Assessment

The DON EA assessment process is a mechanism to ensure DON activities, systems and programs execute existing DON policy and strategy, including the DON DCC artifact summarized previously (along with other applicable DON EA artifacts). Asserting compliance is required on an annual basis for all acquisition category (ACAT) and non-ACAT IT/national security systems (NSS) — investments for all Global Information Grid — mission areas as part of the following processes and trigger events:

»» Title 40/Clinger-Cohen Act (Title 40/CCA) confirmation process, which is required prior to all IT/NSS acquisition milestone, full-rate production and full deployment decision reviews, request for proposal (RFP) releases and all contract awards.

»» DON Information Management/Information Technology Investment and Annual Review process, which requires assertion of compliance prior to obligation of any development/modernization (Dev/Mod) funding for the Business Mission Area and the Enterprise Information Environment Mission Area investments or as part of an annual review for all mission areas.

As part of the DON EA assessment process, metrics are available for all DON stakeholders regarding implementation and assessment of all artifacts (including those for DCC). This results in greater awareness and stakeholder involvement in policy implementation and provides the means to offer feedback on policy.

The EA assessment process also brings visibility to waiver requests for established artifacts, which require senior leadership approval. For example, the DCC artifact requires an organization to obtain a waiver to procure new data center equipment. The waiver requires a business case that: (1) provides the information needed to make an informed decision; (2) records the outcome; and (3) facilitates the production of metrics to track trends for similar events.

5. Delivering Outcomes

By leveraging applicable trigger events, the DON CIO and other stakeholders receive authoritative data with which they can make informed business and investment management decisions. Additionally, the DON EA assessment process delivers valuable data points that can be aggregated to support an integrated DON-wide system view.

An enhanced ability to track DON trends provides a source of information for strategic drivers, incorporating valuable lessons learned and modifications that ultimately support better informed assessments and planning.

Using the DCC artifact as an example, the DON EA assessment provides:
»» Assurance to organizational leaders and program managers that they are complying with DCC policy as stated in the artifact and with systems assertions against the DCC artifact;
»» Mapping to Program Budget Information System (PBIS) IT data;
»» Associations to the responsible organization, location, networks, servers and applications;
»» Waiver status of each system and program; and
»» Overall DON EA assessment outcome, including the requirement for a more effective, efficient and cost-saving approach to data centers, with focus on consolidation and/or use of specific existing DON capabilities whenever possible.

As indicated above, the DON EA assessment process can show aggregate data and trends at the command, service and enterprise levels. For DCC, data aggregation provides the following information:
»» Total number of systems assertions for the DCC artifact;
»» Total number of systems requesting a DCC waiver, with total number granted and rejected; and
»» Trends for compliance, non-compliance and waivers.

Leveraging these data points supports refinement and improvement of the DCC strategic driver identified in Stage 1, which then updates DCC artifacts and requirements throughout the DON EA assessment process. Such continued refinements and periodic analysis ensures visibility of the most current information and facilitates continual process improvement.

In summary, the DON EA assessment process provides investment decision-makers with a valid, repeatable process to gauge how well programs are implementing policies and to obtain better knowledge of the status of enterprise compliance, cost benefit analyses, and data quality through verification and validation of DITPR-DON/DADMS (DON Application and Database Management System) inputs.

As part of an enterprise data repository, the DON EA assessment process facilitates IT business transformation by enabling enhanced visibility and informed decision-making, which leads to cost-savings opportunities across the department.

Susan Shuryn is the director of the enterprise architecture team for the DON Chief Information Officer.
Victor Ecarma provides enterprise architecture support to the DON CIO.

Figure 1. Department of the Navy Enterprise Architecture: Supporting IT Business Transformation
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