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Statewide Technical Architecture

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  • 1. State of North Carolina NASCIO Nomination Enterprise Architecture Executive Summary - North Carolina Statewide Technical Architecture In 1994, North Carolina recognized the need for a comprehensive enterprise architecture that outlined the state’s strategy for implementing, managing, and supporting technology-based business solutions. This was necessary for state government to continue to operate in a cost-effective manner, while being responsive to the increasing needs and expectations of its citizens. Following the enterprise architecture strategies and related initiatives would then position the state to maximize the returns and benefits of its investments in technology and reduce the associated risks. North Carolina began embracing an open architecture approach to information technology (IT) as early as 1977. This visionary move was 10 to 15 years ahead of the industry. In 1996, this vision was solidified through the development and implementation of the North Carolina Statewide Technical Architecture (www.ncsta.gov). The result of these early and consistent efforts is a mature and proven business focused and principle driven enterprise architecture. By design, the North Carolina Statewide Technical Architecture (NCSTA) has become engrained in the IT culture of state government as well as within the vendor community. The effectiveness of this implementation has been accomplished through establishing clear architectural documents, processes, governance, and statewide IT procurement model. This framework helps ensure that the technology solutions agencies implement are aligned with business requirements and consistent with the principles, standards, and practices outlined within this body of work. A fundamental premise of the NCSTA is designing and deploying IT systems that are highly adaptable to changes in business and technology. An enterprise architecture framework must also be adaptable in order to endure and succeed over time. The NCSTA has proven this adaptability by surviving changes in technology, government leadership, IT governance, legislative, and support staff. This is accomplished through an approach that allows, expects, and embraces change. This approach has undergone continual refinement without compromising the principles upon which it is based. The North Carolina Enterprise Architecture Program supports a significant portfolio of IT projects, in excess of $500 million since inception, and is the impetus behind many enterprise IT initiatives and common services. These include: • Enterprise eCommerce Common Payment Service • Enterprise eMail Service • Enterprise Identity and Access Management Service • Enterprise Data Center (Mainframe and Distributed platforms) • Statewide Telecommunications Network (Voice, Data, Video, etc.) • Statewide IT Procurement • Statewide Portal The North Carolina Statewide Technical Architecture is managed centrally but belongs to all agencies in state government. Throughout its life, the body of work is the result of the dedication of many individuals moderated by a keen understanding in the culture of North Carolina state government and the benefits of enterprise architecture.
  • 2. Justification and Description North Carolina has a long and rich history of embracing a standards based and enterprise approach to information technology (IT), which began in the late 1970’s, at least 10 to 15 years ahead of the industry. A few years later, in the early 1980’s, North Carolina began a data center consolidation effort in order to achieve economies of scale and begin fostering the enterprise approach to information technology. By the beginning of the 1990’s, state legislators’ enacted legislation that instituted a commission based IT governance model and soon thereafter enterprise IT standards began being published. In 1994, North Carolina recognized a need for a comprehensive enterprise architecture that outlined the state’s strategy for implementing, managing, and supporting technology. This was necessary for state government to realize its enterprise and standards based goals and to continue to operate in a cost-effective manner, while being responsive to the increasing needs and expectations of its citizens. Following the enterprise architecture strategies and related initiatives would then position the state to maximize the returns and benefits of its investments in technology and reduce the associated risks. In 1996, this vision was solidified through the development and implementation of the landmark North Carolina Statewide Technical Architecture (NCSTA). With the institution of a governance model and the implementation of the NCSTA, the state was properly positioned to begin realizing the benefits of enterprise architecture. Fundamental to the success and validation of the enterprise architecture was an IT project approval process. Agency IT projects over a $500,000 threshold were brought through a project approval process that included an assessment of the technology choices for alignment with the NCSTA, as well as an evaluation of the project management approach. These actions resulted in a monitored IT project portfolio in excess of $500 million. Processes of this nature are critical to the success of any enterprise architecture program. The North Carolina governance and project approval processes are backed by legislation and supported at the highest levels in state government. While governance has changed over time, the approach North Carolina has taken to the development and maintenance of enterprise architecture has survived by designing agility and adaptability into the supporting processes such as governance, evergreen, maturity review, content development, and training. The NCSTA has served as a model for enterprise architecture industry wide. Due to this fact, many other government entities, both foreign and domestic, have sought North Carolina’s enterprise architecture team’s advice on enterprise architecture. From these dialogues, many of these government entities have adopted the North Carolina approach to enterprise architecture as well as the NCSTA content either in whole or in part. Furthermore, North Carolina is routinely asked to speak at industry conferences on enterprise architecture, not only as experts in this area but also as a successful case study. Very few (if any) other state government or private industry entities have achieved this level of maturity and success in the area of enterprise architecture. North Carolina’s maturity and success in enterprise architecture is further exhibited by a recent NASCIO enterprise architecture maturity assessment, which was completed in -2-
  • 3. August 2004. The EA maturity levels reached at each category as well as collectively clearly positions North Carolina as a top tier leader in the enterprise architecture arena. Category EA Maturity Level Level Title Administration Level 5 Continuously Improving, Vital Program Planning Level 5 Continuously Improving, Vital Program Framework Level 5 Continuously Improving, Vital Program Blueprint Level 4 Managed Program Communication Level 3 Well-defined Program Compliance Level 3 Well-defined Program Integration Level 3 Well-defined Program Involvement Level 3 Well-defined Program In summary, North Carolina has one of the longest continuously improving and vital enterprise architecture programs in the industry and has demonstrated maturity and success. Furthermore, North Carolina has been a model for many other enterprise architecture programs both in public and private sector industries. Improvements in Government Operations North Carolina has identified several key success factors to the operation of government that are kept at the forefront of the enterprise architecture program. These success factors are used to drive the development and implementation of the North Carolina Statewide Technical Architecture as well as other key IT strategies. They include: • Agility in offering new and better services • Rapid response to changing economic and political conditions and legislative initiatives • More efficient and effective operations • Quicker response to increased public expectations • Greater accountability for results • Adaptability to change • Ability to do more with less In order to fulfill these requirements, a framework for the development, implementation, and integration of business systems must be in place. North Carolina has found that the larger and more complex the organization, the greater the need for a unified architecture. This framework and unified architecture is the North Carolina Statewide Technical Architecture. In support of the success factors listed above, North Carolina outlines the following principles and drivers: • Information Technology is a business asset of the enterprise • Information Technology must not constrain the business • Information Technology must easily adapt to changes in business requirements -3-
  • 4. • Information Technology must enable collaboration and interaction • Services must be accessible by anyone, anywhere, anytime • The state must maximize information technology investment value The NCSTA is business focused and principle driven. This is key to the success of any enterprise architecture program and more importantly, key to improving operation of government. The success of the North Carolina enterprise architecture program is due, in large part, to a properly instituted and business focused enterprise architecture that is driven by principles resulting in improved government operations. Benefits North Carolina implements shared environments, which are deployed in alignment with the goals and objectives of the state to strengthen the management and sharing of information technology in the state while maintaining consistency with the principles, practices, and standards in the NCSTA. Opportunities to share and collaborate on information technology are initiated where the state can realize increased efficiencies, enhanced accountability of expenditures, and improved cost-effective use of investments. The state is also committed to working with agencies to provide better service to citizen and business, by developing a customer- centric “eState”, which promotes the delivery of more timely, reliable, and easier access to services and useful information. Information technology in North Carolina state government is tempered by an enterprise architecture (the NCSTA) that provides agencies and vendors with principles, practices, and standards in virtually every aspect of technology. A fundamental premise that spans many of the NCSTA domains is to look for opportunities to de-couple common services in applications as reusable components, which can be shared across application boundaries. This is one of the key areas where the state can realize benefits in providing services to its constituency. Enterprise architecture, by its very nature, is far reaching in its influence and impact on services provided to citizens and state agencies through the use of information technology. A properly instituted enterprise architecture program enables enterprises to realize goals such as interoperability and the provision of centralized services to both citizens and state agencies. The benefits to the state, both citizens and agencies, have been significant. For illustrative and brevity purposes, the following two enterprise initiatives were chosen as examples of centralized services that have their roots in the state enterprise architecture program. Enterprise eCommerce Common Payment Service The North Carolina Common Payment Service has been particularly successful in helping to reduce cost and increase efficiencies. This is a shared enterprise service that enables state applications to interface with payment processing services provided centrally. It offers Automated Clearing House (ACH), Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), and credit card processing services for state agencies. To date, approximately half of all state agencies, several universities, and some local government entities are utilizing this service. -4-
  • 5. North Carolina’s volume is approximately $225 million in credit card transactions and $2.5 billion in ACH annually. With this volume, North Carolina is able to leverage the transaction volume of the state to reduce overall cost for participants. A master service agreement has been established, which provides significantly better rates than could be obtained by any individual agency. Additionally, in alignment with principles outlined in the NCSTA, centralizing a service such as this enables agencies to integrate their applications very quickly using a common API and achieve significant economies of scale. Enterprise Identity Management and Access Service North Carolina has implemented a centralized service for the authentication and identity management of users of various state applications. These users include state employees, business users, and individual citizens. This service provides the following benefits: • Ensure that citizens, business partners, and employees have a single, consistent, reliable, and easy to use interface with government. • Enable agencies to rapidly build and deploy their eCommerce applications through the use of pre-fabricated components. • Realize cost savings through volume discounts on eCommerce products and out-sourced services. • Provide a secure, robust, reliable enterprise infrastructure for the authentication, authorization, and logging of access to agency applications. • Offer an enterprise infrastructure for the management of user identities that enables self-registration, self-administration, and delegated administration. • Create an enterprise infrastructure that offers provisioning and de- provisioning of users and user rights. • Develop an automated process for the approval of account creation and access rights, which match the business processes of the agency. • Centralize compliance with federal, state, and local security statutory and regulatory and requirements such as Common Criteria and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). • Development of a service offering that encompasses the above features and provides them in a cost-effective manner by leveraging economies of scale. Since its inception, North Carolina has launched certain key initiatives in order to realize the principles espoused in the NCSTA. Implementation of this service was one of those key initiatives tied to the NCSTA. Cost-effective Use of Investments The investment into the North Carolina enterprise architecture program has been largely an investment into staff and training. However, some of the key centralized services that are a result of the principles outlined in the North Carolina enterprise architecture that were established as initiatives are amplified below. -5-
  • 6. Return on Investment Enterprise eCommerce Common Payment Service – Cost Avoidance The common payment service provides an infrastructure that supports Automated Clearing House (ACH), credit card processing, and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). ACH for example, allows agencies to improve cash flow, save time, and enhance customer service. Using this same example, ACH transactions versus traditional paper checks save an average of .28 cents per transaction. The current ACH volume is approximately 700,000 transactions annually, or nearly $200,000 savings per year, on ACH alone. Enterprise Identity Management and Access Service – Cost Avoidance As described above, this service centralizes identity management and controls access to many of the state’s applications and crosses agency boundaries. This functionality, if implemented independently by each agency, is costly and complex. If this service were not implemented, agencies would be forced to implement their own solutions independently and bear direct costs far above the enterprise approach. An order of magnitude analysis is as follows: Enterprise Costs: $ 6,600,000.00 Agency Independent Implementation Costs: $ 890,000.00 Multiplied By 23 Agencies: $ 20,470,000.00 Estimated Net Savings: $ 19,810,000.00 These figures were derived from a sampling of one agency and are based on estimated five-year life cycle costs. All figures used to derive the Estimated Net Savings are not shown in detail. Enterprise Electronic Mail Service – Cost Avoidance The state has implemented a centralized enterprise-class E-mail service that is available to state agencies, local government, universities, community colleges, and K-12 schools. E-mail is classically described by most industry analysts as infrastructure and utilitarian in nature. A study was performed in North Carolina state government to assess the benefits of an enterprise approach to E-mail. The study found that costs for implementing E-mail systems independently by each agency is 57% higher than participating in an enterprise service. Furthermore, as the number of users increases the cost per user decreases significantly. It can be estimated that, if all state agency users were to utilize the central service, the state could save between $150,000 and $200,000 per year. Centralized E- mail was an early NCSTA initiative and continues to be expanded to reduce costs and increase efficiencies in state government. These are only a few of the many examples of how an enterprise approach to technology can realize increased efficiencies, enhanced accountability of expenditures, and improved cost-effective use of investments. It can be stated confidently that North Carolina has saved many millions of dollars through the implementation of an enterprise architecture program. -6-