Government Enterprise Architecture

Architektura korporacyjna państwa

Enterprise Architecture can have three possible meanings: in the sense of an attribute, information or an activity.

  • Enterprise Architecture – in the sense of an attribute – can be understood as a set of properties of a given organization (and relations between them) necessary for realizing its mission. Enterprise Architecture is therefore an immanent attribute of every organization, while the architecture of one organization may be better, and of the other may be worse. The quality of Enterprise Architecture can be considered in the context of how the realization of the organization’s strategic goals is effective.
  • Enterprise Architecture – in the sense of information – can be understood as a formal representation (documentation) of properties of a given organization. This approach is for example present in the document  A Practical Guide to Federal Enterprise Architecture. Therein, Enterprise Architecture is defined as the organization’s strategic information resource within which there are specified the organization’s mission, information and technical resources necessary for realizing this mission resource as well as a transition process aimed to implement new technical solutions in response to strategic changes in the organization. Enterprise Architecture consists of: 1) a baseline architecture, in the bibliography known as “as–is”, related with both the business and technical sides, 2) a target architecture, in the bibliography known as “to–be” and 3) a transition plan, which is a strategy for changes to the organization within the transformation from its baseline architecture to the target one.
  • Yet another meaning of Enterprise Architecture – the sense of an activity – is proposed by The Open Group (a consortium establishing IT standards), which sees it an activity programme  supported by appropriate tools making it possible to coordinate different aspects of the organization’s operation in a holistic way.

Bearing these considerations in mind Government Enterprise Architecture can be defined as a tool (mechanism) based on architectural models and principles for strategic management of the state’s transformation realized by means of information technologies (i. e. Digital Transformation). The transformation can be carried out by realizing specific undertakings which can be strategic or serve as an improvement.

Government Enterprise Architecture can be expressed in two ways, that is:

  • Enterprise Architecture at a strategic level, focused on key projects of your company, its changes in time and relations between them (it encompasses both architecture models at a high level of generality, including ways of producing them, and architecture governance mechanisms); we must note here that these projects should not be considered only from the IT perspective – in particular they can have a legislative-organizational-IT nature.
  • Cascade of architectures (from a strategic level – a strategic architecture for the whole state, through specific segments of the state’s operation, to architectures of specific key potentials), that encompasses the public administration (central government and local government). Architectures at lower levels must be coherent with those at higher levels.

At the same time we have three indicators that speak of Government Enterprise Architecture:

  • Government Enterprise Architecture is not a set of even the best models and descriptions, but a mechanism (tool) supporting rational decision-making in public organizations, that takes into account holistic needs of Digital Transformation of the state.
  • Government Enterprise Architecture makes it possible to pull down a Chinese wall between the public administration units and to reject the model of a “ministry-based” Poland.
  • Government Enterprise Architecture should not be seen as some assault on local autonomy, it rather serves as help for local governments – in order to provide coordinated actions and rationalize public expenses.

Developing the government’s architecture seems to be a necessary step in the venture of changing mechanisms responsible for managing informatization of the state, and effectively realizing Digital Transformation of public organizations. This statement is well supported by opinions of the Polish Information Processing Society for the Commission on National Economy of the Senate of the Republic of Poland about the progress of the state’s informatization works from May 2011:

“Unfortunately, we should note that recent attempts to manage the state’s informatization were strongly abstracted from (today’s) trends and challenges, and planning tools that we used failed”.

Further the experts claim:

“In the opinion of the Polish Information Processing Society the current model of the state’s informatization has come to its end and requires to be replaced with some new formula that will allow to deal with challenges that Poland must face. The formula in which deploying IT techniques  will be closely related with changes to the management of the state and to the organization of the public administration processes. Every single attempt to repair the current model is unlikely to  bring expected results.”

Author: Andrzej Sobczak, PhD, Professor at the Warsaw School of Economics.

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