GAO-04-798T, The Federal Enterprise Architecture and Agencies' Enterprise Architectures Are Still Maturing



OMB has made progress on the FEA, but it remains very much a work inprocess and is still maturing. Its stated purposes include facilitating (1) thedevelopment of agencies' enterprise architectures, (2) the reuse of commonIT components across agencies, and (3) the identification of opportunitiesfor interagency collaboration in developing common IT solutions. Currently,the FEA is made up of five parts known as reference models, four of whichhave been issued in at least initial form (see table). OMB reports that theFEA has been used to help identify potentially redundant agency ITinvestments, choose five lines of business (e.g., grants management) inwhich to pursue opportunities for agency collaboration, and begin todevelop the architectural foundation for some of these business lines. GAOsupports the FEA as a framework for achieving these ends, but raisesquestions whose answers are important to the its future. For example:Should the FEA be described as an enterprise architecture? GAO's reading ofits content suggests that it is more akin to a classification scheme forgovernment operations than a true enterprise architecture. Further, OMBrequires agencies to “map" and “align" their architectures with the FEA.However, since these terms are not well-defined, GAO asks if the expectedrelationship between the FEA and agencies' architectures is clear enough.

Like the FEA, agencies' enterprise architectures are still maturing. GAOrecently reported (GAO-04-40) that agencies' management of architectureprograms was generally not mature. Using its Enterprise ArchitectureManagement Maturity Framework as a benchmark, GAO found little changein overall maturity between 2001 and 2003. Only 20 of 96 agencies examinedhad established at least the foundation for effective architecturemanagement. Further, while 22 agencies increased in maturity since 2001, 24agencies decreased and 47 agencies remained the same. Recently, OMB andthe federal CIO Council initiated actions to advance agency architectureprograms that are consistent with many of GAO's recommendations.

(What GAO found)