EA around the world

Kristian and I have returned from Washington, where we spent a week catching up on the international enterprise architecture scene. Mainly the US scene – from Homeland Security over Engraving and Printing to Veterans Affairs and many others -, but also a good day with inputs from other countries (Japan, Canada, UK, Sweden, Mexico, and Korea). We’re going to write a report of kinds sometime soon. There will also soon be a public announcement resulting from this trip …

Suffice it to say that EA is on top of the agenda all over the world. But EA has also manifested itself in a variety of ways; in some countries, they don’t even call their approach EA. In others, most notably US, EA is almost so strong it has become the mission itself, with such a tight coupling of EA and capital planning/governance that EA has developed into a critical business-strategic activity for agencies and departments – No EA, no business (no funding).

On the US situation, a survey conducted by The Association for Federal Information Resources Management (AFFIRM) – the eighth annual CIO Challenges Survey – reports that the senior federal information technology (IT) community has identified the top 10 most critical challenges facing the federal CIO are:

1 Obtaining adequate funding for IT programs and projects
2 Hiring and retaining skilled professionals
3 Formulating or implementing an enterprise architecture
4 Implementing IT capital planning and investment management across the agency
5 Unifying “islands of automation” within lines of business (across agencies)
6 Making the business and cultural changes necessary for full e-government transformation
7 Aligning IT and organizational mission goals
8 Consolidating common IT functions
9 Simplifying business processes to maximize the benefit of technology
10 Balancing public access to information with the need for information security.

The US approach to EA is perhaps best illustrated in the NASCIO Enterprise Architecture Video Library. This is a four volume video series that provides a library of messages that direct the message of enterprise architecture toward policy makers and technical professionals. The videos are available online. I think I’ll show one of them to our architecture committee. It might overshadow the “EA for dummies” leaflet we’ve been working on, but I’ll take the risk. I wonder if NASCIO would allow us to put Danish subtitles on the videos?

The RAND US/EU Benchmarking report is interesting in this international context. The report is perhaps especially interesting to us in Denmark, since the survey results shows that, among US and EU countries:

  • Danes have to most positive attitude towards e-government services.
  • Danes are second to the US those who use the internet the most.
  • Danes like tax services online (highest), but not job search services (lowest next to Portugal)
  • Danes see convenience as important, and don’t feel unsafe doing online business with government.

The Danish EA approach should – and will, and does – recognise the potential for e-government in the service of the citizens. Arguably, we have the best conditions in the world (OK, US/EU is not the whole world, so let alone Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, which potentially might have even better conditions) for this mission.

This week’s Office 2003 schema news sure made the headlines, BTW.

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