Apps–The World At Your Fingertips

I came across this great video by the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP)
The video demonstrates a vision for connecting people with applications and using these “to communicate, educate, and engage–beyond the gates of every embassy on the planet.”
I like the way they detailed out specific use cases for the apps, where “Applications can be anything from trivia to media kits, visa procedures and event management to English language tutorials.”
The video describes how everyone from a consular officer to a public affairs specialist and a college student to a journalist can take advantage of these. 
I can see that one of the principles behind Apps@State is to maximize the sharing and re-use of content through an apps catalogue and the ability to customize the apps to local and individual needs. 
The mobile and webs apps content will be made available through SMS, smartphones, and social networks.  
This framework for a cloud computing platform can bring efficiency and effectiveness to foreign service officers and audiences world-wide that depend on and can benefit from these programs.
This is very much user-centric design in action, and I believe very much on target with the “25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management.”
Other agencies are also developing significant apps catalogues, such as GSA with the Apps.Gov website, which now has more than fifty free social media applications for federal agencies in everything from analytics and search to blogs, contests, document sharing, video and photo sharing, idea generation, social media, wikis, and more. 
Perhaps it is not too early to say that the Federal government is on a roll and that it will only get better with time. 
(Note: All opinions my own)

>Use Cases and Enterprise Architecture

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User-centric EA fulfills many different needs (as portrayed through Use Cases) in the enterprise.

In the Journal of Enterprise Architecture (JEA), August 2007, the authors of the article “Analysis and Application Scenarios of Enterprise Architecture: An Exploratory Study” (Winters, Bucher, Fischer, and Kurpjuweit) provide a variety of these “application scenarios” for EA.

Use Cases can help us understand the importance and benefits of Enterprise Architecture by showing its application to real-world scenarios. Below is a list of key use cases for EA (adapted from JEA):

  1. Adoption of Commercial and Government Off-The-Shelf Software (COTS/GOTS)—informs on enterprise IT products and technical standards for integration, interoperability, and standardization.
  2. Business Continuity Planning—identifying the dependencies between business processes, application systems, and IT infrastructure for continuity of operations.
  3. Business Process Optimization—reengineering or improving business processes based on modeling of the business processes, the information required to perform those, and the technology solutions to support those.
  4. Compliance Management—helps verify compliance with legal requirements such as privacy, FOIA, Section 508, records management, FISMA, and so on.
  5. Investment Management—supports Investment Review Board; determines business and technical alignment and architecture assessment of new IT investments.
  6. IT Business Alignment—aligning IT with “business, strategies, goals, and needs.”
  7. IT Consolidation—“reveals costly multi-platform strategies and wasted IT resources originating from personal preferences of certain IT stakeholders and/or a lack of enterprise-wide coordination.”
  8. IT Planning—develops target architecture and transition plan; develops or supports IT strategic plan and tactical plans.
  9. Performance Management—Management of IT Operations Costs through the development of IT performance measures to manage IT resources.
  10. Portfolio Management—categorizes IT investments into portfolios and prioritizes those based on strategic alignment to the target architecture and transition plan.
  11. Post Merger and Acquisition Integration—identifies gaps, redundancies, and opportunities in business processes, organizational structures, applications systems, and information technologies.
  12. Procurement Management—aids sourcing decisions; specifies standards, provides reviews of new IT investments.
  13. Project (Initialization) Management—specifies projects requirements, looks at the potential for existing systems to meet user needs, and avoids redundant development activities.
  14. Quality Management—document business processes, information requirements, and supporting IT; helps ensure performance.
  15. Risk Management—managing technology risks; understanding which technology platforms support which business processes.
  16. Security Management—documenting business and IT security and defining user roles and access rights.

When done right, EA helps to create “order out of chaos” for the execution of business and IT in the organization.