The District of Columbia (DC) combines the government services of state, county, city and special district authorities. Customers include 570,000 residents, 40,000 businesses and 66 city government agencies. The District government's goal is to continually find and implement ways that make it easier for residents and businesses to interact with the government, spend taxpayer dollars wisely and leverage the Internet to streamline business/resident-to-government communications.

The IT environment is under the guidance of the DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO). In 2001, the District launched an enterprise architecture (EA) program to effectively understand, analyze, plan and manage its complex, dynamic business IT and develop plans for its processes and systems. The EA program would provide blueprints to guide effective strategic planning and project prioritization for each District agency.

Before the launch of its EA program, the IT environment included 380 largely undocumented siloed systems. Because the systems were independent, IT project teams often worked in isolation without an easy way to share information, ensure data integrity or improve data transparency. OCTO launched an EA program to help them reduce costs, improve communications and support more knowledgeable decision-making on IT portfolio management and process improvement issues.

Participation in the citywide EA became a prerequisite for IT spending authorization in the District. This assured management that the technical due diligence had been performed. OCTO advocated the development of simple, practical plans and models that could rapidly be converted to benefits for agencies, residents and businesses in the short term. The EA would be developed and filled in over time as various projects were initiated.

Generating Information for Better, Faster Decision-Making

OCTO spent a year performing a thorough evaluation of EA tools and selected Telelogic System Architect as the central repository for the models and data required to develop an EA. Using System Architect, repository information could be collected, analyzed, visualized and then tailored to the different information needs of various stakeholders. The Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) was selected as the EA guidance methodology.

A central repository enabled the team to generate credible information supporting fact-based decision-making. Architecture objects were aggregated into program-level models, giving the District greater insight into the links between information, technology and process. The team could identify key information assets in this domain, visualize key interrelationships among the different processes and technologies and find common application components. This enterprise view facilitated smarter, faster decisions about IT investments and business process improvement.

By taking a focused approach to its EA development, the District was able to achieve significant results. For example, the District averages 18,000 purchases or contracts each year. Before the program was initiated, the District had no central procurement or personnel systems. The District used the EA program to plan the Administrative Services Modernization Program (ASMP) to automate and centralize all human resources and procurement activities via an architected series of development projects.

In addition, the EA helped the District to identify and integrate new e-government services to automate its processes and establish new Web channels ( to better serve its residents and businesses. Approximately 100 active database applications are made available online, including processing of financial aid applications, parking ticket payments and business licenses.

Today, the District continues to utilize the EA on a daily basis as part of the budgeting and IT investment process. Every major IT project is vetted against the architecture for program management compliance within the city. Individual agencies can now identify issues, gather stakeholder feedback, and model a best-in-class solution that shows costs, benefits, resources required and an implementation plan. All this is fed into the EA to provide a broader perspective for the District management and to ensure that efforts at agencies are being cross-evaluated and cross-pollinated. The District expects the benefits, including reduced costs, improved resident/business-to-government communications and improved productivity and efficiency to continue as the EA evolves.

Telelogic System Architect

Telelogic System Architect enables organizations worldwide to design, visualize, analyze and publish business models and enterprise architectures that help them understand the relationships among their technology, processes and data. With this information, organizations can be more agile and flexible in addressing their ever-changing technology and business objectives.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Information Management content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access