By Dr. Pallab Saha, Chief Architect, The Open Group
On July 1st 2017, India launched its GST. For a country of nearly 1.28 billion people, comprising of 29 states and 7 union territories this is a defining moment. The idea of abolishing all other central and state taxes, and introducing one tax, GST, was mooted 15 years back. It took more than a decade to finally get to a point when consensus was reached and the formal launch (or rather the transition) to GST happened. Given the complexities, there will still be teething issues that will likely take a year or two to smoothen out. Disgruntled elements will continue to disrupt for some time to come. Nevertheless, GST represents a tectonic shift, and there are lessons for enterprise architects. A construct of singular, integrated and unified approach that enterprise architecture aims to bring in the government sector, is being manifested through the adoption of GST. These areas of attention, common to both, include:
- Political will and consensus is paramount, and it takes time to get there;
- Fragmented and siloed thinking ingrained in our ecosystem, allows internal inefficiencies taken advantage of by certain groups of stakeholders;
- Technology, while providing avenues for efficiency improvements, does not really become the showstopper;
- Ability to show the big-picture in a way that different groups find it valuable in their own ways is an art that takes mastery, and mere technical competence is inadequate;
- After overcoming initial inertia, major transformation initiatives must be given adequate momentum so that they take hold making it harder to be reversed by political changes; and
- India, is more than willing to embrace transformative initiatives. The pace and nature of changes on the anvil, makes it one of the most attractive places on this planet for enterprise architects.
The Digital India is a flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. This has meant that ICT is now considered a core element of the country’s economic, social and political landscape, and growing in its impact and clout over time. The continued success and planned outcomes of Digital India clearly depends on disciplined adoption of standards. Digital India is more a reform process of the government sector for a future-ready government, rather than mere streamlining and modernisation of the government ICT structure, and Enterprise Architecture is the backbone.
In my previous articles, I have already elaborated the steps being taken towards defining and adopting a government enterprise architecture in India. Enriched by the experience of Panchayat Enterprise Architecture Framework, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, and ePragati (Andhra Pradesh State Enterprise Architecture), the National Enterprise Architecture Working Group (WG) was set up by the STQC, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India. The Working Group’s singular mission was to develop a framework for enterprise architecture applicable to central, state and local governments. Eight months of intense effort by the group has culminated into what is now called the India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA) Framework based on TOGAF®, and aiming to enable one government.
The vision of IndEA is “to establish best-in-class architectural governance, processes and practices with optimal utilisation of ICT infrastructure and applications to offer ONE Government experience to the citizens and businesses through cashless, paperless and faceless services enabled by Boundaryless Information Flow™.” The IndEA comprises of eight distinct yet inter-related reference models, each covering a unique and critical architecture view or perspective, as depicted in the figure below.
The primary objectives of IndEA are to:
- Capture and codify current knowledge and experience in a consolidated form for ready reference to anyone who is interested to understand this subject;
- Kick start enterprise architecture initiatives across India, covering entire state governments and other government / public sector entities;
- Enrich the procurement process and provide greater leverage to government enterprises in managing their vendors;
- Document issues and concerns contextual to India, in manner such that the finer nuances of governance are captured and factored in;
- Support India’s transition towards digital governance and knowledge economy as envisaged in the Digital India initiative.
PERFORMANCE REFERENCE MODEL (PRM): The key objective of the PRM is to provide a uniform and consistent mechanism to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of the different sectors or domains in achieving the overall goals of the government. The principal instrument of the PRM is a set of KPIs designed rationally to measure the outputs and outcomes of the various programmes, schemes, projects and activities. The guide provides a set of illustrative KPIs relating to a few selected sectors, and also provides inputs on the approach to measure the effectiveness of the architecture itself.
BUSINESS REFERENCE MODEL (BRM): The BRM is pivotal for the design of good enterprise architecture, in so far as it looks at purely the business vision, and the functions and services required to fulfil that vision but not the technologies required to be used. The BRM has been developed considering the business landscape of a typical State Government represented via a set of 16 Verticals and 12 Horizontals. A similar approach can be taken by other public sector enterprises, as well.
DATA REFERENCE MODEL (DRM): DRM enables data architects to arrive at a comprehensive Data Architecture for their enterprise. The data architecture provides the structure and description of the department data (metadata), the logical data model (depicting the relationship between various data elements), taxonomy, the security associated with each data element and its sharing. DRM provides a mechanism to identify, discover, describe, manage, protect, and share the data and reuse information consistently within and across department and their business partners.
APPLICATION REFERENCE MODEL (ARM): The Application Reference Model provides the foundation to automate the services, identified as part of the Business Reference Model. ARM identifies various application capabilities and facilitates re-use of applications. The ARM provides the framework for grouping similar applications to maximise re-use. To this end, a concentric layered ARM meta-model is prescribed for IndEA. The inner-most layer of the four layers of ARM is the IndEA Core Platform, which provides the most generic services in a domain-agnostic, application-agnostic and technology-agnostic manner.
TECHNOLOGY REFERENCE MODEL (TRM): TRM depicts the layout of the technology foundation of ICT-based systems to be designed for delivery of identified business services. TRM lists all the components of the technology system in an end-to-end basis, including IT Infrastructure, Applications, Access Devices, Communication Systems and Service Delivery modes. TRM defines the currently applicable open standards for all the solution building blocks and components, and identifies the Open Source Products for each technology component.
INTEGRATION REFERENCE MODEL (IRM): Integration of government business processes and services across the breadth of the enterprise is needed for delivering the services conveniently to the citizens on a sustainable basis. Data interchange in an e-Government setup is a primary need. Therefore, government entities need to organise, secure, prioritise, classify, and publish the information needed by other entities for seamless interoperability. The objective of the IRM is to capture all technology options for integration and provide guidelines and recommendations for integrating business applications, services, information systems and platforms for a boundary-less information flow.
SECURITY REFERENCE MODEL (SRM): The SRM delineates the overall framework for providing information security to the entire gamut of ICT systems in the enterprise. Integrity, privacy, confidentiality, and availability of information and ICT systems are the key concerns addressed by SRM. SRM adopts a layered approach to identifying and meeting the information security needs of the enterprise. The model identifies the security controls to be applied at 6 layers, namely, the Business, Data, Application, Perimeter, Network and the End Point Layers. SRM also touches upon the manner of designing Security Policies and Standard Operating Procedures, and provides reference to various security and related standards like ISO 27001, ISO 27002, NIST and Software Engineering Institute (SEI).
GOVERNANCE REFERENCE MODEL (GRM): The objective of GRM is to manage and maintain architecture requirements and artefacts. It comprises of enterprise structure, processes and standards to ensure that architecture is consistent with the business vision and objectives of the enterprise. Lack of robust architecture governance results in non-standard technology or product procurement and development, and create inconsistencies in architecture development that lead to building siloed applications. IndEA report recommends a three-tier governance structure, namely, at the political, executive and technology levels. It also defines the profiles of the key positions in the core technology team responsible for the development of enterprise architecture. IndEA recognises the need for governments to exercise a strategic control over the IT systems created as part of the EA effort.
The IndEA (300+ pages) currently consists of:
- Part 1 [India Enterprise Architecture Framework]: This details the eight reference models.
- Part 2 [IndEA Adoption Guide – A Method Based Approach]: This describes how IndEA can be adopted by government entities with TOGAF® ADM as the underlying methodology.
Both artefacts will be made available for public consultation. Stay tuned.
Acknowledgments: The author gratefully acknowledges the leadership and deep involvement of many institutions and individuals who were part of the Working Group in providing their expertise and generously contributing to the development of IndEA. It is part of STQC’s National eGovernment Standards and Technologies (NeST) programme.
Dr. Pallab Saha is Chief Architect at The Open Group. Identified as a Thought Leader by IBM Smart City Connect and Forrester, featured by Forbes, he is an advisor to the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY), Government of India and is a key member in the National Committee for Enterprise Architecture, and a co-author of the India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA) Framework. Previously, as Head of Wipro’s Government and Public Sector Architecture Practice, he was instrumental in creating a government focussed architecture domain, and selected as an elite Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in Wipro.
Dr. Saha has published five books. He has delivered nearly eighty keynote sessions at prominent forums, seminars and conferences worldwide. Dr. Saha has been the Chief Architect to Andhra Pradesh State Enterprise Architecture (ePragati) and Bhutan eGov Interoperability Framework. He is the primary author of the Methodology for AGency ENTerprise Architecture (MAGENTA) and Government EA Guidebook for the Govt of Singapore and has led them to international prominence. He is a two-time recipient of the Microsoft research grant supported by the UN, and a joint recipient of the Innovation Fund by the Land Transport Authority of Singapore. He has advised MINDEF, DSTA, IDA, IHIS, IPOS, CPFB, MUIS, Sing Health, EMA, Govts of Bhutan, Oman & Kazakhstan, and delivered numerous executive programs internationally. He has been invited as a distinguished speaker to the World Bank, CMU, UNU, Microsoft, SAP Labs, Software AG, Government of India, Denmark IT Society, Korea Institute for IT Architecture, IEEE, Nanyang Business School, George Mason Univ, IIM Bangalore, South Australia, Jordan, UAE, Macau, Korea, Taipei, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Bahrain, Computer Society of India and several Singapore Govt agencies. His work has been cited by the UN, WHO, US Department of Defense, Open Technology Foundation, Info-Tech Research Group, Carlsberg and The Open Group and has contributed to the World Bank EA Guidelines for Mongolia, Vietnam & Bangladesh. He has been an examiner for research degree to the UNSW, a visiting researcher to the UN University, an expert reviewer to the ACM EA Tech Pack and an invited guest faculty to the LKY School of Public Policy and Carnegie Mellon University. He is an advisor to the Asia Research Center in Enterprise Architecture and Strategy Dynamics of the Chinese University in Taipei (Taiwan).
Dr. Saha holds a Ph.D. in Management (Information Systems) from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and has received the best research design and best thesis awards. He is DODAF certified. He is an alumnus of the MIT Sloan Executive Program and Wipro Business Leaders’ Program.