2016 Leadership in Enterprise Transformation using EA -
Government Project, Civilian

Connecting the Dots: Technology Roadmap for the IRS Future State

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

 

DGI EA 2017 239

Team Members:

Gaurav Jain, Balinda Moreland, Rakesh Gupta, Sid Sinha, and Charles Exum

Summary of Enterprise Project Challenge:

IRS is undertaking a generational transformation of its business operations towards a “Future State”. Business priorities (e.g., online accounts, on-arrival tax processing) depend heavily on harnessing modern technology paradigms. With highly dispersed enterprise planning, a unified “source of truth” was needed in articulating the business and IT direction.

Summary of EA Driven Solution:

IRS’s Enterprise Architecture team developed a Technology Roadmap to guide architecture, investment, and implementation, in partnership with leaders in both IT and business organizations to establish an EA-led approach to aligning Business and IT Strategies, “translating” the future state business vision into needed IT capabilities and services.

Who derives the benefit(s) from this EA driven solution?

• IRS Business Community: IT solutions and investments submissions from Business units are now driven by a comprehensive understanding and analysis of required business capabilities and aligned to the business strategy and IT direction. The IT organization, led in this effort by EA, is working collaboratively with leads from business units and programs to shape and validate the enterprise technology direction and its alignment to business needs. Because EA is driving architecture at enterprise, program, and project / solution levels, solutions are being deployed more quickly, are better leveraging shared assets (e.g., common SOA services, shared infrastructure), and are better aligned to enterprise standards.
• IRS IT Community: The Technology Roadmap provides the IT community with a shared understanding of the IRS business and IT direction over the next several years. EA’s partners in other IT divisions (e.g., Strategy & Planning, Enterprise Operations, User and Network services, Application Development, Cybersecurity, Enterprise PMO etc.) have proactively been mapping the alignment of their division activities and priorities to the Technology Roadmap. In addition, the IT community is able to come together “deep dives” topics into key enterprise priorities, notably cloud computing, agile, and data analytics. Additionally, IRS is socializing the key themes and concepts in the Technology Roadmap with IT vendors and solution providers to give them more insight into the IRS business and IT direction, and to allow them to develop more tailored solutions to IRS challenges.
• The Public: IT solutions and investment decisions derived from business-driven planning and sound architectural analysis yield more innovative applications of technology to address business challenges, fundamentally transform the taxpayer experience toward secure digital interactions with the IRS, reducing costs from duplicative and misaligned solutions, and ultimately ensure better use of taxpayer dollars

What results and benefits have been achieved to date using the discipline of EA?

Improved Alignment between Business and IT Priorities: EA led the development of the Technology Roadmap, as well as Target EA, that collectively established the business and IT direction for the Service, detailed the desired future state architecture, and described the plans for moving from the current to future state. These EA products are enabling executives and projects to better visualize the alignment between IT strategies and desired future state business capabilities, identify and prioritize areas of alignment, and plan initiatives to close gaps. The Technology Roadmap is the authoritative statement of direction to which all IT investment proposals must demonstrate alignment.

Portfolio Rationalization: By applying architecture and portfolio rationalization principles, EA identified an opportunity to consolidate 90+ existing case management applications ($118M O&M cost) toward a common enterprise platform driven solution. Now a top enterprise priority, EA is leading the solution architecture development for the Enterprise Case Management (ECM) solution. Also broadly, EA is driving IRS cost savings and technology currency across its 2,000+ technology product portfolio by rationalizing to within product “Version N/N-1” to significantly reduce costs (e.g., software licenses, maintenance, and training) and performance risk during the critical IRS filing season. 

Improved Mission Delivery: EA has extended the reach of its architecture work from the enterprise-level vision and strategy down through the development of solution architectures, designs, and requirements for critical IRS transformation programs and associated projects, including: Affordable Care Act (ACA), Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), Customer Account Data Engine 2 (CADE 2) modernization, Web Applications, Taxpayer Digital Communications, Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) Act, Information Return System Modernization (IRSM), and Enterprise Case Management (ECM). For ACA, our solution architectures have led to 15 new systems and updates to 150 legacy systems. One ACA solution eliminated the overhead costs of a manual process by automating post-filing and compliance actions related to Premium Tax Credit (PTC) returns from 10 million taxpayers. One FATCA solution delivered “Dropbox-like” capabilities using secure web services, resulting in taxpayer savings and significantly reduced delivery time. 

Cost Savings, Reuse and Efficiency: The EA program has placed a primary importance on using architecture as a means of achieving cost savings, reuse, and efficiencies. Key examples include:

SOA/Common Services and Open Source Technologies: EA has driven the IRS evolution toward SOA and open source technologies, spanning strategy, governance, and implementation. We established and facilitate the SOA center of excellence, implemented centralized service and open source registries, and identified and registered 84 new common services, with six services deployed for reuse across solutions (e.g., taxpayer identification number validation).

Please explain how the EA discipline is being applied and how the appropriate stakeholders and business/mission staff were engaged?

The development of a Technology Roadmap was envisioned as an agile enterprise architecture effort. A core team, led by the EA Director and with oversight from the ACIO for Enterprise Services, developed a concise set of inter-related visualizations that would collectively characterize the future state business and IT environment, and the transition path for achieving it. The team started by synthesizing and translating key elements of the business vision emerging from the IRS “Future State” (i.e., enterprise CONOPS) initiative into a set of architectural themes: real-time enterprise; security in depth; data centricity; anywhere / any time interaction; on-demand infrastructure; and IT the right way (i.e., Agile, DevOps, standards driven). From these themes, a conceptual view of the future state was developed that depicts the six major IRS business areas and included the key coarse-grain IT services required for each, and the major technology constructs through which they will operate (e.g., service orchestration, configurable business processes, portal, data access, analytics and exploration, and security). Next we developed a set of views and extensions to represent relationships between business strategy, technical services, programs and applications, technology products and standards. Finally, the team developed a transition view for each business area representing three states: current (major applications); transition (programs, applications, and technologies); and future (coarse-grain services).