News Release

Enterprise Architecture Implementation for Collaboration, Information Sharing Moving from Foundation to Adoption, Survey Shows

Government Decision Makers Still Seeking Outside Expertise
Sep 11, 2006

WASHINGTON, September 11, 2006 - Federal agencies indicate significant progress in reaching the Office of Management and Budget's adoption stage as they implement its 2004 Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) road map, according to an independent, commissioned survey of federal decision makers released here today. Funding and managing security during FEA transition top the list of decision maker concerns, with network security and continuity of operations (COOP) as the major business drivers.

With agencies wanting more centralized frameworks for security services and further embedding of security in the enterprise, survey results released by Cisco Systems, Inc. indicate that enterprise architecture may be viewed as a way to drive security as an enterprise capability. Agencies also are seeking help in developing their expertise, tools and transition planning, with the survey indicating a desire for more private sector assistance.

More than 75 percent of those involved in enterprise architecture planning are updating their plans at least annually, and almost 50 percent update their plans more than once a year. More than 50 percent indicate some familiarity with FEA reference models developed by other agencies.

The survey was conducted last month by Market Connections, a federal IT market research firm. The research effort, conducted by phone, targeted IT and business decision makers in both civilian and military agencies (For more information, see

Agency respondents indicate that they are making the most progress in consolidation of IT infrastructure. This consolidation provides the foundation for enhancement of secure delivery to citizens, cross-agency collaboration and information sharing, and optimization of electronic records management expenditures, with over half indicating those processes to be completed or in process. Documenting citizen-government interactions and mapping investments to FEA reference models are still largely either in process or not yet under way.

Of those who cite using internal resources for EA planning, over 60 percent of respondents have dedicated a specific internal staff person responsible for coordinating enterprise architecture solution planning. Nevertheless, internal staffing and training of existing staff are cited as the greatest needs for additional investment to maximize the benefits of the agency's enterprise architecture. More than 50 percent look to help from a vendor or contractor in their efforts to adopt EA. Agency respondents are looking for greater worldwide best-practice sharing, followed closely by the need for complete end-to-end plans, workshops and training, and on-site network assessments.

When looking ahead, respondents see increasing EA challenges in cross-agency collaboration and information sharing, and, interestingly, consolidation of IT infrastructures - particularly among IT respondents. Optimizing e-records management expenditures and enhancing service delivery to citizens follow closely as future EA challenges. Top priorities in the next 24 months for business-focused respondents are network security and COOP, and for IT staff, managing security during transitions ranks even higher followed by disaster recovery and contingency planning.

Additional survey findings:

  • Defense respondents perceive that integrators offer the most advanced solutions, while civilian and independent agencies are more likely to turn to a mix of software vendors and outside consultants.
  • Although current plans adequately support the agency's mission now and going forward, almost 30 percent say their positioning for growth in their agency is not ideal.
  • Of those who cite having a specific internal staff person responsible for EA solution planning, less than one-third are dedicated solely to EA.
  • Respondents indicate the need for greater overall support in the areas of internal training and awareness, reinforced by the fact that less than 40 percent indicate familiarity with the FEA program.
  • While a broad cross-section of more than 30 companies are mentioned as top-of-mind EA solution vendors, nearly one-quarter of the respondents still say they don't know or aren't sure who the important vendors are.
  • Top three vendors mentioned, in order, are Microsoft, Cisco, and IBM.

"Security is definitely a top concern for agencies as they look to increasing their functional ability to share data, information and other resources," said Aaron Heffron, vice president of Market Connections. "Planning has been very deliberate and done in-house, likely due to this concern."

"Although enterprise architecture is moving out of OMB's foundation phase and those knowledgeable about the FEA and OMB's vision are now seeing value, it is clear that much progress needs to be made in speeding this effort," said Gerald Charles Jr. executive advisor, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group. "In order to achieve common solutions and unified outcomes for citizen services, highly secure cross-agency collaboration and information sharing, and realize cost reductions, the government is looking to the private sector for expertise with skill development, education, tools and transition planning. We see this survey as a strong mandate for our continued and expanded investment in service-oriented architectural frameworks, tools and transition services."

"This survey outlines areas we hope to address with this week's launch of our Connected Government solution. Our goals are to help agencies deepen and improve their alignment of infrastructure enhancing services such as security, mobility and storage, with their business goals," said Bruce Klein, Cisco federal segment vice president. "The Connected Government solution also provides direct support for roadmap planning and implementation as well as leveraging existing infrastructures and investments."

About the Survey

In August 2006, Market Connections, Inc. conducted a telephone-based survey of 155 IT decision makers in civilian and defense agencies. The respondents were selected randomly and represent a mix of IT and business decision makers. Market Connections, Inc. is a full-service market research company specializing in meeting the research needs of those marketing and selling to federal, state and local governments.

This survey is one of a series of thought-leadership surveys of federal decision makers conducted by Market Connections on behalf of Cisco. The most recent survey conducted in June focused on IPv6, and in late 2005, the first of this series examined key trends in federal information security.