Over the past couple of years our technologists have been spending much of their time reading blogs around technology and studying release notes from Apple, Amazon, SAP, Mulesoft, and other technology giants. This could fill our entire week keeping up the amazing capabilities and innovations in Cloud, Analytics, the Internet of things (IoT), machine learning, etc. that every organization can adopt to save money and improve their mission effectiveness.
Then we meet with our clients and talk about their plans for leveraging these new capabilities. We usually hear they don’t have the time or resources to use these new capabilities. We also hear it’s not on their strategic plan or even worse, they don’t have a plan. How do you prioritize without a plan? When did you last update the plan? Are you living your plan? How fluid is the plan? Most people can’t really answer these questions.
From our perspective, if you don’t have a living strategic plan for technology that is fiscally informed, then you are not just behind, you are wasting the little money you do have to enable your mission. The importance of making informed decisions around IT spend and direction should be every IT leader’s top objective.
What is TeraThink’s role in Shared Services and how do we apply it to our solution areas?
I found myself thinking about this question while I attended the AGA/IAC Shared Services Summit last week. Within the industry, most agree with the long term vision of this most recent Shared Services initiative, which is consolidating Financial Management to four approved Federal Shared Service Providers. I listened to a number of excellent speakers talk about the importance of moving to Shared Services, the benefits with respect to minimizing Total Cost of Ownership, bringing efficiencies in how the government operates financial management, and most importantly allowing an agency to “focus on its mission”.
I agree with all of those principles, but I also found a common theme amongst the speakers…the need and want for agencies to do something that is often lost in government…and that is build trust. Trust is something I have often heard from my clients when discussing Shared Services. The thought that “we have been doing this so long, no one else does it like us”, so how can we trust another Federal Agency successful manage our financial management system in a Shared Service environment.
Enterprise Architecture (EA) has developed a reputation. We’re often reminded of this when in a meeting with senior business leadership and someone explicitly mentions the EA program. Eyes roll back in heads, quick loaded glances are exchanged, an audible exhale is heard as if to say, “Ugh. Not this again.” If you’ve seen one of these reactions or maybe even all three simultaneously (unofficially known as the EA Trifecta), unfortunately you are not alone. EA programs in all corners of business and government are struggling to demonstrate substantial organizational value and achieve true enterprise buy-in and acceptance.
It is not for a lack of trying. Organizations that have decided to invest in EA programs are usually making substantial personnel (both internal resources and external consultants) as well as software investments in support of their EA programs. In addition, organizations typically incur significant indirect EA costs in the form of stakeholder meetings and presentations. Many enterprises have started to take a hard look at their EA program to assess whether the EA program is worth the investment. It has left organizations asking themselves, “What’s wrong with our architecture?”, a question that Frank Lloyd Wright most certainly asked himself more than once.
As IT professionals, we see organizations experiencing a variety of challenges with their enterprise architecture programs. There are many potential pitfalls when it comes to establishing a value-driven EA capability. If you find yourself struggling to comprehend what’s wrong with your architecture, consider the following questions that might uncover some of the issues preventing your EA program from providing real enterprise value.
TeraThink Corporation was awarded a contract on February 23, 2010, to support Washington Headquarters Service (WHS) business transformation efforts related to replacing the legacy WHS Allotment Accounting System and eventual migration to the Business Transformation Agency’s (BTA) Defense Agency Initiative (DAI). In supporting WHS business transformation efforts, TeraThink will provide project control and schedule management, business process alignment, data strategy, organizational change management and communication strategy, and other management consulting support services.
TeraThink provides IT security consulting services to help the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Modernization and Information Technology Services (MITS) organization to conduct an independent security assessment focused on identified control weaknesses across multiple sites.