2015 Leadership in Enterprise Architecture Driven Results -
Summary of Enterprise Project Challenge:
GSA executives found they were faced with growing complex IT environments and budget constraints. They recognized the need to rationalize GSA’s applications to identify opportunities and modernize its portfolio. GSA executives realized the IT environment was growing to be too expensive to manage and too slow to change.
Summary of EA Driven Solution:
Application rationalization helps guide IT investment decisions. We use a methodology to analyze our application portfolio and assess whether an application should be tolerated, invested, migrated, or eliminated (TIME). The methodology provides a consistent approach to baseline the application inventory and coordinate discussions between business and IT stakeholders.
Who derives the benefit(s) from this EA driven solution?
The primary stakeholders of the application rationalization initiative range from senior level executives, including: GSA’s Chief Information Officer, GSA’s Associate Chief Information Officers, Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner for FAS, to senior managers within the organization, including FAS Business directors and FAS IT directors.
What results and benefits have been achieved to date using the discipline of EA?
Over the last year, after applying application rationalization, the GSA EA program identified more than $8.8 million in cost avoidance in the Federal Acquisition Services’ (FAS) application portfolio. Led by the EA program, we worked in close collaboration with GSA Enterprise IT Governance, business executives, IT managers, as well as the application IT and business owners to help eliminate 30 unnecessary applications.
To date the EA team has evaluated ¾ of the quadrants (Tolerate, Migrate, and Eliminate) which represent over 100 of the applications in the FAS portfolio. See Appendix A for an example of the applications placed in the TIME quadrants. Throughout the process, EA has engaged more than 215 stakeholders. At the conclusion of the team’s analysis of each quadrant, we present our observations and recommendations to the governance boards for their consensus.
With the results of this analysis, GSA can make better-informed IT investment decisions and focus its IT spending on GSA priorities, enabling it to respond to emerging or changing needs with modernized applications and technologies. As a next step, GSA EA will institutionalize application rationalization as part of the agency’s annual IT budget process. GSA EA will continue to conduct application rationalization for all IT portfolios.
Please explain how the EA discipline is being applied and how the appropriate stakeholders and business/mission staff were engaged?
Our application rationalization effort is accomplished in two phases. During phase 1, GSA EA baselined the application inventory. See Appendix B for an excerpt of the FAS application list. After having a comprehensive understanding of the applications utilized by the business, the EA team conducted a user survey to collect their perspectives. The results of the survey were used to inform the initial TIME quadrant analysis, and included the business and technical perspectives of the applications from the users of the agency. The EA team placed each application in one of the TIME quadrants based on their perceived business and technical value, so each application would fall in one of the T, I, M, or E quadrants.
In phase 2, GSA EA focused on one quadrant at a time - T, I, M, or E. Phase 2 involved detailed architecture analysis to better understand the application’s strategic direction. Focused meetings between business and IT owners of the applications were conducted to gather the following critical information on each application:
Business and technical architecture analysis
Cost (O&M, DM&E) analysis
Application rationalization is an example of the value EA can bring to an organization by bridging the gap between IT and business, and enabling business-led strategy that drives how IT supports business in meeting its mission. The information gathered during the meetings informed the GSA EA team’s analysis. The analysis resulted in:
Cost savings or cost avoidance opportunities
Candidates for elimination, migration, or investment
Consolidation of multiple, redundant applications
4-year strategy/roadmap for every application that indicates T, I, M, or E for each year. Example - FY15: T, FY16: T, FY17: M, FY18: E. See Appendix C for an example of the 4-year strategy/roadmap.
Using the assessment results, GSA is making better-informed, data-driven investment decisions and is focusing its IT spending on agency-wide priorities. Our goal is to enable the business to better respond to emerging or changing needs with modernized applications and technologies.
The deliverables for each application rationalization project include:
Baselined application inventory
Survey questions (Business and technical) to determine usefulness of application
Baseline TIME quadrant with each application plotted to the TIME quadrant
Application Analysis: business, data, and technical (redundancy, reuse, interfaces, etc.)
Cost analysis of applications (maintenance vs. development)
4-year strategic plan (Appendix C)
Interface diagram (Appendix D)
Why do you consider the results from this EA driven solution worthy of this Award for Excellence?
We believe that application rationalization is worthy of the award for Leadership in Government Transformation using EA because we are on the cutting edge of applying a systematic and innovative approach that is scalable across the enterprise that could be applied to other organizations. We are providing quantitative and qualitative benefits to the business, which enterprise architects often struggle to do. The estimated return on investment (ROI) for the project is 1,595%, a number the business and IT organizations love!