Transforming the Management of Government

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Editorial Director and current Faculty Member,
Tom Dwyer is the Editorial Director and current Faculty Member of He writes, presents and consults on topics that include Business Process Management, Business-to-Business, Enterprise Application Integration, and Service-Oriented Architecture. Mr. Dwyer has conducted primary research and published extensive reports on the Application Software Infrastructure markets. Before becoming an industry analyst in 1998, Mr. Dwyer spent 28 years in the computer industry in various engineering, marketing, professional services, and sales functions. He was a co-founder and general manager of a new software venture at Xerox, which became a wholly owned subsidiary. Mr. Dwyer has held senior management positions in marketing and engineering at Wang Laboratories and Prime Computer and has developed and launched more than 15 software products.

Truly transforming the management of government business requires both an architectural and process-oriented approach. This transformation is the strategic goal of the 2001 Presidential Management Agenda (PMA) and is enabled by the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA). The Business Reference Model (BRM) is one of five reference models in the FEA and is the first layer of the FEA and it is the main viewpoint for the analysis of data, service components and technology specified in the FEA. It is also the primary reference model that establishes the relationship with BPM.

The PMA outlines the current administration’s strategic initiatives for improving the management of the federal government. It identified five U.S. government-wide management initiatives for creating a citizen-centered, results-oriented and market-based government. The five are: 1) Strategic Management of Human Capital, 2) Competitive Sourcing, 3) Improved Financial Performance, 4) Expanded Electronic Government (e-Gov), and 5) Budget and Performance Integration. Each of these initiatives has generated increased awareness and use of BPM, BR, OP, BA and SOA. The PMA is one of two performance measurement initiatives used by the federal government to ensure that federal agencies adopt disciplines that ensure their focus on results is effective and lasting.  The other performance initiative is the Federal Reference Architecture (FEA).

The FEA consists of five interrelated reference models that enable the federal government to improve performance, increase collaboration, identify duplicative investments, reveal gaps, eliminate redundancies, and reduce costs across the federal IT portfolio. The five reference models are 1) The Performance Reference Model (PRM), 2) The Business Reference Model (BRM), 3) The Service Component Reference Model (SRM), 4) The Technical Reference Model (TRM), and 5) The Data Reference Model (DRM).

The PRM specifies a standardized framework to measure the performance of major IT investments in terms of cost savings, cost avoidance and process improvements.  The BRM provides an organized, hierarchical construct for describing the business operations of the Federal Government independent of the agencies that perform them.  The SRM is a functional framework that classifies service components (e.g. customer service, process automation service, business management service, digital asset service, business analytical service, back office service) with respect to how they support business and/or performance objectives.  The DRM establishes a common data model for all types of information exchanged between government agencies and their stakeholders.  It provides a standard means to describe, categorize and share data.  The TRM provides a foundation to categorize the standards, specifications, and technologies to support the construction, delivery, and exchange of business and application components (Service Components) that may be used and leveraged in a Component-Based or Service-Oriented Architecture. The TRM unifies existing Agency TRMs and E-Gov guidance by providing a foundation to advance the re-use of technology and component services from a government-wide perspective.

The FEA BRM provides a framework facilitating a functional (rather than organizational) view of the federal government’s lines of business (LoBs), including its internal operations and its services for citizens, independent of the agencies, bureaus and offices performing them. The BRM describes the federal government around common business areas instead of through a stovepiped, agency-by-agency view. It thus promotes agency collaboration and serves as the underlying foundation for the FEA and e-Gov strategies.While the BRM does provide an improved way of thinking about government operations, its true utility as a model can only be realized when agencies effectively use it. The functional approach promoted by the BRM will do little to help accomplish the e-Gov strategic goals if it is not incorporated into business-focused enterprise architectures and the management processes of federal agencies and OMB.

The BRM describes the business of the entire federal government by organizing it into a 3-tier hierarchy of business area, line of business and sub-function.  The four business areas — which are independent of the agencies and/or offices to which they are aligned — are: 1) Services for Citizens, 2) Mode of Delivery, 3) Support Delivery of Services, and 4) Management of Government Services.  The Services for Citizens Business Area describes the mission and purpose of the United States government in terms of the services it provides both to and on behalf of the American citizen — organized into Lines of Business (e.g. Law Enforcement, National Security, Education, Health and Human Services etc.).  The Mode of Delivery Business Area describes the mechanisms the government uses to achieve the purpose of government, or its Services to Citizens — organized into Lines of Business (e.g. Knowledge Creation, Public Goods Creation, Regulatory Compliance and Management, Direct Services Delivery).  Support Delivery of Services provides the critical policy, programmatic and managerial foundation to support federal government operations — organized into Lines of Business (e.g. Controls and Oversight, General Government, Public Affairs etc.).  Management of Government Resources refers to the back office support activities that enable the government to operate effectively — organized into Lines of Business (e.g. Human Resources, Finance, Supply Chain, Information Technology etc.).  Each of the five business areas is further subdivided into Lines of Business and sub-functions that correspond to the services associated with each business area (e.g. Law Enforcement, Knowledge Creation, Controls and Oversight, Human Resources).

The Service Component Reference Model (SRM) is defined as “a business and performance-driven functional framework that classifies Service Components and how they support business and/or performance objectives.  The SRM supports the discovery of government-wide business and application Service Components in IT investments and assets. The SRM is structured across horizontal and vertical service domains that, independent of business functions, can leverage reuse of applications, application capabilities, components, and business services.”    The FEA SRM identifies seven Service Domains: 1) Customer Services, 2) Process Automation, 3) Business Management Services, 4) Digital Asset Services, 5) Business Analytical Services, 6) Back Office Services, and 7) Support Services.  These seven domaains provide a high-level view of the services and capabilities of enterprise and organizational processes and applications. 

At the Hyatt Regency Reston, VA, September, 10 – 13, we are presenting detailed descriptions and analyses by employees from 10 different government agencies that will update the attendees on the progress the federal government is making on the PMA and FEA initiatives.  Presenters will inform the attendees about the progress being made using Shared Service Centers in Human Resources Management, Financial Management, Competitive Sourcing & Procurement, and IT infrastructure.  Several organizations and agencies — GSA, Department of Interior, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, EPA, & FAA — will report on the progress they are making aligning their enterprise architectures with the FEA.  The IRS will report its status on the IRS Modernization program started in 1999, specifically focusing on changes introduced in 2003.

The business architecture being embraced by these cross-agency initiatives is a significant departure from previous models of the federal government that used antiquated, stovepiped, agency-oriented frameworks.  The business initiatives being driven by the OMB and enabled through the FEA can demonstrate the real strategic and transforming benefits of using BPM and SOA methodologies under a comprehensive business architecture that aligns strategy and implementation.  Ensuring that the business needs of the agencies are adequately defined and addressed in newly created cross-agency service providers’ offerings, and that such outsourcing is integrated into each agency’s enterprise architecture is a challenge being met by the FEA.

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