Monterey County

Information Technology Policies

  

Section: 9.0
Subject: Unified Technical Architecture Management Policy
Date Issued: September 10, 2002
Issued by: Director of Information Technology, as recommended by the Department Head Information Technology Steering Committee
Applies to: All Departments and Agencies

  

PURPOSE

The rapid, client driven rate of change in government, business, and administrative processes is outstripping I/T’s ability to deliver systems and solutions.  Consequently, an enterprise technical architecture must be established to map, plan, and enable change in the County’s processes and the information systems that are capable of maintaining pace with those process innovations.  The drive to enable and support innovative uses of technology to improve customer service, reduce operational costs, and accelerate the delivery of new services requires fundamental changes in the way I/T staff work among themselves, the way I/T works with the other departments, and the way I/T and the other departments embrace and employ technology.

Unified technical architecture management enables better systems management and improves management in general.  Limiting the number of different configurations simplifies maintenance and reduces overall costs.  First, the service and support needs are minimized to a smaller set of vendors.  Secondly, having fewer physical types of hardware simplifies the repair and replacement requirements by enabling internal technical support to store an inventory of the most commonly needed parts.  This is not feasible when the organization has one of every make and model to contend with whenever there are system problems.  Carrying inventory also facilitates expansion requirements.  It is more likely that the internal technical staff will have extra boards, etc. when expansion is necessary, especially if systems, software, devices, etc. are common.  Having such enterprise standards will also expedite decision making when new locations, departments, etc. are being added – the configuration will likely be similar to another area of the County and the order can be placed based on the existing standard.  Similarly, standardized decisions in software selection simplify training, learning curves, and skills transfer between application areas and facilities.

The purpose of this policy is, therefore, to establish and define the policy for systematically guiding departmental information technology selection and acquisition processes to support County-wide interoperability & interchangeability, to reduce the complexity of the County’s technical environment, to engineer into the technical infrastructure the capability to support rapid change, and to promote multiple uses of information technology assets thereby achieving a maximum degree of utility and return.

POLICY STATEMENT

County Departments will assist the Information Technology Department (ITD) to create, maintain, and implement a unified technical architecture management process and plan.  The Information Technology Department will facilitate and convene a group of technologists and interested parties from the Information Technology Department and the other County Departments to establish and maintain an Enterprise Wide Technical Architecture (EWTA) plan.  Central to this planning process will be the inputs collected and derived from the ITD I/T Business Managers interactions with the other County departments.

The EWTA will be derived from client department definitions of business requirement for technology and will be decomposed into the various component architectures – application, middleware, data, platform, communication devices, network, systems management, and related technologies to guide the design, selection, construction, implementation, deployment, support, and management of the County’s information systems, communication capabilities, and technology infrastructure.

The EWTA will be developed in a systematic way and be a central repository for the communication of the County’s existing architecture and its information technology strategic directions to enable broader support for the County’s business plans, and deliver coordinated technology implementation efforts across the departments.

The systematic EWTA development process will embrace the seven synergistic properties of:

Scalability meaning the capability to easily increase, decrease, or redistribute processing capacity and include all aspects of the architecture, including network, storage, database, etc.

 

Component-based design meaning the plan will be open and based upon components rather than a particular vendor delivered taxonomy or proprietary architecture.

 

Consistency meaning the plan for the components will be “logically consistent.”  Technologies and products will not be selected in isolation – they must be selected with a systemic view of the other products and technologies with which they will interface.  This is critically important in a network-centric environment.

 

Extensibility meaning that the architecture plan must provide for the capability to add new technology very quickly into an enterprise computing environment.  A well-engineered network design is a most critical engineering component to enable an extensible architecture, because most new technologies are network-centric or will be delivered over the network.

 

Support/Manageability meaning that the enterprise architecture must be supportable and manageable across all the component architectures and their enabling technologies and products.  The properties should be designed in from the beginning of the enterprise architecture effort, rather than added after the design phase, to lower total cost of ownership.

 

Comprehensiveness meaning the architecture must provide guidance for the full range of systems and technologies to be employed by the County.

 

Lucidity meaning that Department management and I/T will have a common and cohesive vision of the major components of the enterprise wide technical architecture, and of its role in enabling business change.

To avoid the traps of conflicts in professional perspective, approach, and technical definition, the County’s EWTA processes will encourage cross-functional involvement, enhance departmental technical knowledge and skills, and enforce systematic discipline in the planning process.

The goal of the EWTA plan will be to define a future, “to-be” state for the County’s information technology portfolio which will unify the hardware and software in use throughout the County, create a common vision for technology across the departments and I/T, and define the process of how to implement and enforce this vision across the departments to the benefit of the County as a whole.

The Department Head Information Technology Steering Committee will be responsible for prioritizing the EWTA activities in relation to business requirements and for reaching a common vision between the departments and I/T on the business drivers, as well as the role of the EWTA and technology.

The EWTA team will be facilitated by the Director of Information Technology.  The team will be responsible for gathering broad-based input, reviewing, approving, and communicating the Enterprise Wide Technical Architecture plan and all its component architectures, technology design guidelines, technology selection parameter check lists, and any recommended product standards, and any recommended configurations, for use by technology acquisition and selection task forces.

The EWTA team will establish cross-functional component architecture teams to develop component architectures, define technology selection criteria, create technology design guidelines, select standard products, define standard configurations, document product standards and configurations, and plan for the implementation of the component architectures in conjunction with technology acquisition and selection task forces.

on investment across the Departments, and for the County as a whole.

DEFINITIONS

Enterprise-wide Technical Architectur40e – a series of documents that describe the “as-is” and “to-be” state of the County’s electronic communications, information technology infrastructure, and applications.  Its purpose is to guide the selection of new technologies as a part of approved and funded information technology projects.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Board of Supervisors – Accept gifts and grants of information technology to the County only upon approval of technology for conformance with the Enterprise Wide Technical Architecture (EWTA) plan by the EWTA team.

Information Technology Steering Committee – deliberate and direct the development of the Enterprise Wide Technical Architecture (EWTA) plan through the EWTA team.  Resolve conflicts between business and technology plans with the support of the EWTA team.

County Administrative Officer – facilitate and encourage inter-Departmental cooperation and participation in the development of and adherence to an Enterprise Wide Technical Architecture (EWTA) plan as a part of presentations to the Board of Supervisor for proposed information technology acquisitions, grants, leases, etc. of information technology assets.

Director of Information Technology – develop and maintain the capacity to facilitate and conduct the Enterprise Wide Technical Architecture (EWTA) planning effort.  Facilitate and convene the EWTA team.  Provide for the communication of the developed EWTA plans County-wide.  Report to the Department Head Information Technology Steering Committee on the progress of the EWTA team planning efforts and bring conflicts between business and technology plans to the attention of the Department Head Information Technology Steering Committee.  Assist the departments with understanding and achieving conformance with the EWTA plans.

ITD I/T Business Managers – collaborate with the County departments to develop an understanding of the departmental business drivers and technology needs.  Communicate this understanding to the EWTA team and facilitate alignment of the recommended EWTA plan with County department business and technology issues.

County Departments – assist the Information Technology Department in establishing and maintaining the EWTA planning efforts.  Accept and actively seek the implementation of the EWTA plan during department technology selection and acquisition projects.

EWTA team – Understand the goals and objectives of the EWTA planning effort and find innovative technology solutions to support the achievement of business objectives within a management and supportable information technology environment.

EWTA Component Architecture team – seek optimal technical solutions, guidelines, and design parameters that support the objectives of County Enterprise Technical Architecture Management policy.