>24 TV Series and Enterprise Architecture

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“24, last year’s most Emmy Award-winning television series with five Emmys, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Kiefer Sutherland) and Outstanding Drama Series, is one of the most innovative, thrilling and acclaimed drama series on television.” (TV.com)

What makes 24 so thrilling?

Well there is the drama, the intrigue, the ever twisting plot and constant terrorist threats, and of course, Keifer Sutherland and the rest of the 24 team.

There is also the technology and its application to track the terrorists, communicate effectively, and the business intelligence to decipher the terrorist plots. While the technology is not perfect and often it is used by the terrorists to thwart CTU as well, it still comes across quite impressively.

On a Bluetooth technology website, I found this:

“Fox’s hit television show ’24’ has always displayed the latest in cutting edge technology.CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) agents and terrorists alike. But which model of Bluetooth headsets are they actually wearing?” (bluetomorrow.com) During this season (Day 5) of 24, Bluetooth wireless headsets can be seen constantly being used by both

The technology used in 24 is viewed as cutting-edge and trend-setting (i.e. everyone wants to know which model CTU is using).

On another site, Government Computer News, 7 January, 2007, it states: “Federal superspy Jack Bauer battles fate and countless foes on the hit TV show “24”—a drama unfolding in real time and depicted on several windows within the screen. Like the Bauer character, who himself is the fictional successor to an earlier superagent who liked his tipple “shaken, not stirred,” federal IT users frequently will have to share information quickly if they hope to prevail or even survive in 2007.” (http://www.gcn.com/print/26_01/42874-1.html)

Again, the 24 series is viewed as a model for information technology users and IT sharing.

In the same GCN article, Homeland Security Department, G. Guy Thomas, the Coast Guard’s science and technology adviser for the Maritime Domain Awareness Project, states: “The ultimate goal that technologists and policy-makers should strive for is user-definable interfaces, which would provide a ‘common operational picture [COP] that serves as an interface to a collaborative information environment.’”

The COP contains an operational picture of relevant information shared by more than one command and facilitates collaborative planning and assists all echelons to achieve situational awareness. This type of operating picture is often seen being used in CTU to track and ultimately catch (with Bauer’s help) the terrorists.

For Homeland Security enterprise architecture, 24 can serve as a target state forsynthesizing business process and technology. For example, the integration between the business processes and the technology is virtually flawless in CTU, where business intelligence at the Los Angeles office is communicated and made virtually immediately available to the agents in the field for quickly following up on leads and cornering conspirators.

Additionally, even the character Jack Bauer himself displays not only tremendous heroism and patriotism in his efforts to protect this nation and its citizens, but also his innovative and can-do persona is a model for enterprise architecture development of creative yet grounded target technology states and transition plans for our organizations.

Additionally, from a User-centric EA perspective, we need to look outside our agencies at business and technology best practices in the public and private sectors, and yes, even at fictional portrayals. It is even from dramas like 24, and maybe especially from such visionary elements that EA can adapt information, creativity, and innovation to plan a genuine target state for our enterprises.