The Architects of Information Technology: Creating Integration across Applications and Infrastructure from an Enterprise View
By Karen Tang
In July 17’s article, Enhancing Information Sharing and Supporting Technology Planning, we talked about the Portfolio Management and Policy Development services of the Office of Information Technology (OIT)’s Policy and Strategic Planning (P&SP) division. This article will cover the other two core services of P&SP: Application and Infrastructure Architectures.
The Architecture Services are divided into 1) applications and 2) systems/infrastructure, which are the two general categories of software. Application software performs tasks to meet the user’s needs, for example, MS-TAMS. Whereas, infrastructure software integrates a computer’s various capabilities to make the hardware work, for example, network and server operating systems.
A traditional architect creates a theoretical blueprint of a building, from which carpenters, plumbers, painters, electricians, etc, carry out the actual implementation. Similarly, the Application and Infrastructure Architects develop a blueprint to manage information technology (IT). Then the actual work of creating applications/systems is performed by programmers, analysts, webmasters, network engineers, etc.
The Application Architect offers five main services:
Enterprise IT Applications Architecture: Creates an effective and efficient statewide framework for managing IT applications. It examines how existing applications work together and how new ones can come in to fit the enterprise structure.
System Development Lifecycle: This is the deliberate and disciplined process of developing applications through first defining user requirements, designing the abstract solution, translating that design into actual computer code, testing it throughly before deployment, and finally, supporting it adequately throughout its deployed life.
Contract Reviews: Before contracts are signed, they are reviewed in order to ensure that they fit the actual need at hand, that they meet the overall enterprise vision, and that they offer the best long-term return on the investment..
Project Rescue: At the discretion of the Project Manager and/or the Executive Sponsor, the Application Architect is called upon for advise and consultation when an application project anywhere in Maine State Govt is under threat.
IT Strategic Planning: The Application Architect currently is facilitating the creation of the IT Strategic Plan for the 2007-09 biennium. The aim is to arrive at a handful of high-level strategic initiatives that will support the Governor’s business plan, as well as the various agency plans, and will ultimately drive all IT investment in the State for the coming biennium.
The Enterprise Infrastructure Architect’s responsibilities include:
Enterprise Technology Architecture & Design: An important goal is to ensure a consistent level of efficiency and security across the State’s infrastructure architecture to support OIT’s integration or unification of IT services across State Government while maximizing the effectiveness of investments.
Technical Consulting: When there needs to be a change in an existing enterprise infrastructure architecture, or a new application with a system architecture component is created, the Architect reviews and analyzes the impact of the change (i.e. how many users are affected, what is the cost), and makes recomendations to maximize efficiency and security to promote the development of comprehensive, integrated information systems.
Development of IT Infrastructure Policies & Standards: Develops an enterprise view with specific sets of goals that drive the process of infrastrucure architecture. Works with the OIT Enterprise Technology Services Divisions, Security Office and State Agencies Information Technology Directors to introduce best practices, develop standards, to improve security, interoperability and redundancy in infrastructure components.
IT Strategic Planning: Is a key participant on the team that directs the development of the State’s IT strategic plan and the resulting operational recommendations for improvement of IT capabilities while ensuring alignment with OIT enterprise and agency goals and objectives. Assists in developing long range strategic plans, policies, and position recommendations concerning technology, project management, emerging trends, standards, policies and/or protocols vital to the effective, efficient use of technology.
Enterprise/Server Testing: Designs a lab architecture simulating what exists in the enterprise production environment to facilitate test scenarios for use in new system development projects in order to achieve successful integration into the existing environment without negative impact.
Technology Research: Researches and analyzes complex business issues concerning information systems and automation technology with statewide implications. Maintains a thorough knowledge of state-of-the-art information services/technology trends and concepts in the systems development area of expertise through study, research, and collaboration with senior technical staff in leading technical fields in order to provide timely information to senior management and project teams
Special Projects: Participates in special projects at the request of the CIO and the Planning & Policy Director and serves on enterprise or infrastructure related boards and committees. Responds to management requests for special projects and analyses by provides guidance and expertise on research projects as requested.
For more information State employees may visit the new P&SP intranet website: http://inet.state.me.us/oit/services/psp/index.html .