EDS helps government measure up

EDS is keen to help government agencies map value in their IT.

EDS is keen to help government agencies map value in their IT.

EDS consultant David Bernstein was in New Zealand last month to talk to agencies and departments about the benefits of his company’s “enterprise architecture” development approach.

Says EDS: “In contrast to private sector investments in technology, government has not traditionally viewed the acquisition of information technology as an investment nor as a transformation agent.”

In the US, federal agencies are required to show value returned for the investment in IT, in an effort to “incentivise” the investment focus, EDS says. However, Bernstein says many US government agency enterprise IT models have been developed statically, on paper and in Powerpoint, which he says is not sustainable or dynamically operational. “So they’re only marginally effective.”

“Value can be quantified, procedures and precedents set based on a common agreement of the definition of value. He says the enterprise architecture (EA) model — which is a mix of technology, system and business architectures, with a change and interrelationship framework — “provides a means so government can’t escape scrutinising itself”. Bernstein says.

EDS has offered the EA model to commercial organisations for at least a decade, but only developed the governmental equivalent — Government Enterprise Architecture Solution (GEAS) — in the past two years. Its first implementations in the US are with Veterans Affairs and the US Army.

Bernstein says that because government departments here are comparatively small organisations, analysis, validation, gap analysis and presentation could be accomplished within three to four months, and full implementation in six to eight months.

A study by EDS subsidiary AT Kearney released last December rated New Zealand third among OECD countries surveyed for providing “agile” government — making government faster, more flexible and more responsive to users.

The study, which was conducted with the Public Policy Group of the London School of Economics and Political Science, found Australia and Canada equal top with 27% of government agencies rated as agile; New Zealand came in just below at 26%, with Germany next at 13%, followed by the US, at 7%.

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