2016 Leadership in Enterprise Transformation using EA - Government Project, Civilian

2016 Leadership in Enterprise Transformation using EA -
Government Project, Civilian

Connecting the Dots: Technology Roadmap for the IRS Future State

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)


DGI EA 2017 239

Team Members:

Gaurav Jain, Balinda Moreland, Rakesh Gupta, Sid Sinha, and Charles Exum

Summary of Enterprise Project Challenge:

IRS is undertaking a generational transformation of its business operations towards a “Future State”. Business priorities (e.g., online accounts, on-arrival tax processing) depend heavily on harnessing modern technology paradigms. With highly dispersed enterprise planning, a unified “source of truth” was needed in articulating the business and IT direction.

Summary of EA Driven Solution:

IRS’s Enterprise Architecture team developed a Technology Roadmap to guide architecture, investment, and implementation, in partnership with leaders in both IT and business organizations to establish an EA-led approach to aligning Business and IT Strategies, “translating” the future state business vision into needed IT capabilities and services.

Who derives the benefit(s) from this EA driven solution?

• IRS Business Community: IT solutions and investments submissions from Business units are now driven by a comprehensive understanding and analysis of required business capabilities and aligned to the business strategy and IT direction. The IT organization, led in this effort by EA, is working collaboratively with leads from business units and programs to shape and validate the enterprise technology direction and its alignment to business needs. Because EA is driving architecture at enterprise, program, and project / solution levels, solutions are being deployed more quickly, are better leveraging shared assets (e.g., common SOA services, shared infrastructure), and are better aligned to enterprise standards.
• IRS IT Community: The Technology Roadmap provides the IT community with a shared understanding of the IRS business and IT direction over the next several years. EA’s partners in other IT divisions (e.g., Strategy & Planning, Enterprise Operations, User and Network services, Application Development, Cybersecurity, Enterprise PMO etc.) have proactively been mapping the alignment of their division activities and priorities to the Technology Roadmap. In addition, the IT community is able to come together “deep dives” topics into key enterprise priorities, notably cloud computing, agile, and data analytics. Additionally, IRS is socializing the key themes and concepts in the Technology Roadmap with IT vendors and solution providers to give them more insight into the IRS business and IT direction, and to allow them to develop more tailored solutions to IRS challenges.
• The Public: IT solutions and investment decisions derived from business-driven planning and sound architectural analysis yield more innovative applications of technology to address business challenges, fundamentally transform the taxpayer experience toward secure digital interactions with the IRS, reducing costs from duplicative and misaligned solutions, and ultimately ensure better use of taxpayer dollars

What results and benefits have been achieved to date using the discipline of EA?

Improved Alignment between Business and IT Priorities: EA led the development of the Technology Roadmap, as well as Target EA, that collectively established the business and IT direction for the Service, detailed the desired future state architecture, and described the plans for moving from the current to future state. These EA products are enabling executives and projects to better visualize the alignment between IT strategies and desired future state business capabilities, identify and prioritize areas of alignment, and plan initiatives to close gaps. The Technology Roadmap is the authoritative statement of direction to which all IT investment proposals must demonstrate alignment.

Portfolio Rationalization: By applying architecture and portfolio rationalization principles, EA identified an opportunity to consolidate 90+ existing case management applications ($118M O&M cost) toward a common enterprise platform driven solution. Now a top enterprise priority, EA is leading the solution architecture development for the Enterprise Case Management (ECM) solution. Also broadly, EA is driving IRS cost savings and technology currency across its 2,000+ technology product portfolio by rationalizing to within product “Version N/N-1” to significantly reduce costs (e.g., software licenses, maintenance, and training) and performance risk during the critical IRS filing season. 

Improved Mission Delivery: EA has extended the reach of its architecture work from the enterprise-level vision and strategy down through the development of solution architectures, designs, and requirements for critical IRS transformation programs and associated projects, including: Affordable Care Act (ACA), Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), Customer Account Data Engine 2 (CADE 2) modernization, Web Applications, Taxpayer Digital Communications, Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) Act, Information Return System Modernization (IRSM), and Enterprise Case Management (ECM). For ACA, our solution architectures have led to 15 new systems and updates to 150 legacy systems. One ACA solution eliminated the overhead costs of a manual process by automating post-filing and compliance actions related to Premium Tax Credit (PTC) returns from 10 million taxpayers. One FATCA solution delivered “Dropbox-like” capabilities using secure web services, resulting in taxpayer savings and significantly reduced delivery time. 

Cost Savings, Reuse and Efficiency: The EA program has placed a primary importance on using architecture as a means of achieving cost savings, reuse, and efficiencies. Key examples include:

SOA/Common Services and Open Source Technologies: EA has driven the IRS evolution toward SOA and open source technologies, spanning strategy, governance, and implementation. We established and facilitate the SOA center of excellence, implemented centralized service and open source registries, and identified and registered 84 new common services, with six services deployed for reuse across solutions (e.g., taxpayer identification number validation).

Please explain how the EA discipline is being applied and how the appropriate stakeholders and business/mission staff were engaged?

The development of a Technology Roadmap was envisioned as an agile enterprise architecture effort. A core team, led by the EA Director and with oversight from the ACIO for Enterprise Services, developed a concise set of inter-related visualizations that would collectively characterize the future state business and IT environment, and the transition path for achieving it. The team started by synthesizing and translating key elements of the business vision emerging from the IRS “Future State” (i.e., enterprise CONOPS) initiative into a set of architectural themes: real-time enterprise; security in depth; data centricity; anywhere / any time interaction; on-demand infrastructure; and IT the right way (i.e., Agile, DevOps, standards driven). From these themes, a conceptual view of the future state was developed that depicts the six major IRS business areas and included the key coarse-grain IT services required for each, and the major technology constructs through which they will operate (e.g., service orchestration, configurable business processes, portal, data access, analytics and exploration, and security). Next we developed a set of views and extensions to represent relationships between business strategy, technical services, programs and applications, technology products and standards. Finally, the team developed a transition view for each business area representing three states: current (major applications); transition (programs, applications, and technologies); and future (coarse-grain services).



2017 EA Hall of Fame Winner

Kevin Wince 

Congratulations to Mr. Kevin Wince!

The 2016 EA Hall of Fame Award Winner 

DGI EA 2017 WinceMr. Kevin Wince accepts his EA Hall of Fame award from Cort Coghill, FEAC's director of education operations. 


Summary Description of Mr. Wince's contributions to the Enterprise Architecture practice, promotion or professionalism:

Kevin has demonstrated exceptional performance, fostering a climate that sustains excellence and optimizes results within GSA IT, across the entire Agency and throughout the Federal Government.

Kevin’s innovative approach to Enterprise Architecture has revolutionized how the business and technical sides of GSA communicate with each other. Starting in an environment with multiple EA tools, repositories and disparate architectures, Kevin has developed an environment where the EA stakeholders actively look at the same data at the same time to make investment decisions. As Kevin’s approach was gaining a following beyond GSA’s two main Services (the Public Buildings Service and Federal Acquisition Service), other external organizations began to take notice and ask to learn more. Kevin shared his approach with Chief Enterprise Architects (CEAs) from other Federal agencies, including USDA, DoE, and VA among many others. Kevin’s activities have even been noticed by the Federal CEA who has asked Kevin to help update the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework by leading the working group on Business Engagement. The Federal CIO has also noted Kevin’s accomplishments and has started promoting GSA as a leader in Federal EA.

Kevin continually spearheads EA efforts that address important federal goals. He is an inspirational leader and is considered a role model by agency leadership, peers, and employees. Kevin is a confident leader who encourages his employees to set goals to improve their skills, and then provides them the support to do so. He has fostered great connections within his team by collaborating with them on employee engagement actions, and he has also continuously improved as a leader by seeking out feedback and practicing active listening. To his credit he has established a high level of trust by demonstrating integrity in every facet of his job.

Under Kevin's leadership, the EA program has realized many accomplishments:

Enterprise Architecture - Kevin has turned EA at GSA into a flexible repository with a streamlined user experience. In addition to the traditional EA databases and metamodels, this EA highlights the business stakeholder’s needs and presents the information in a way that is simple and easy to follow. The GSA EA Analytics and Reporting (GEAR) web application is open to everyone at GSA, making the enterprise architecture transparent and available for inspection (and correction) by more than twelve thousand employees. Kevin is also responsive to the needs of the users, rapidly responding to requests for new reports or visualizations. He has designed his team to serve the needs of the stakeholders, often abandoning legacy practices in favor of open and useful collaboration.

Kevin has also been a tireless advocate for EA, both within GSA and across Federal agencies. His innovative approach and thought leadership has garnered the attention of other government and industry leaders. 
- Developed an EA methodology that utilizes agile development practices to rapidly deliver business and IT data relevant to stakeholders in a way that is coherent, digestible and repeatable.
- Shared GSA’s EA methodology with CEAs and CIOs from other Federal and Local Agencies: Executive Office of President of the US, Office of Management and Budget (OMB); US Health and Human Services (HHS); US Department of Agriculture (USDA); Department of Energy (DOE); Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); Federal Health Architecture (FHA); Social Security Administration (SSA); US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NCR); US Corps of Engineers; National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); and the Orlando Utilities Commission, Florida. 
- Revamped GSA’s EA governing body, the Enterprise Architecture Committee (EARC), including a review of membership to incorporate business line participants, establishment of a new charter, and integration with enterprise IT governance.
- Renewed GSA’s involvement in the Chief Architect Forum (CAF) as an active member.
- Integrated EA with security operations to include security controls, automated Federal Information Security Act (FISMA) reports and Authority to Operate (ATO) renewal notices.
- Coordinated with GSA’s Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) Program Manager and Senior Agency Official to integrate CUI data and relationships into the GSA EA.
- Initiated partnership with GSA senior leaders to develop an agency segment target architecture called the Common Acquisition Platform (CAP).
- Accepted an invitation to join the board of the Association for Federal Information Resources Management (AFFIRM) to lead IT-related scholarship and federal intern opportunities for college-age students.

Application Rationalization - Understanding that EA data cannot be developed in a vacuum, Kevin created a team to help guide GSA’s business and technology stakeholders through a process called Application Rationalization. This methodology brings together the two worlds of business and technology and provides them with a process to communicate their portfolio needs in the same language. The detailed review process of Application Rationalization provides an incredible amount of clarity to assist in senior level investment review decisions. The freshly validated information is then incorporated into GSA’s enterprise architecture. Application Rationalization has resulted in the identification of cost avoidances, and in cost savings through reduced redundancy and elimination of applications across the organization. When sharing his methodology for EA with other agency’s CEAs and CIOs, Kevin has stressed the importance of understanding the needs of both the business and technology stakeholders, and that Application Rationalization has been GSA’s method of choice to accomplish this.

IT Standards - At the beginning of Kevin’s tenure at GSA, the process for managing the software inventory at GSA was struggling. While several different organizations within GSA IT recognized this need, no one group was able to fully institute control. Kevin was able to bring together the different divisions within GSA IT, as well as the business-support divisions, and bring maturity to the software standards approval process that brought everyone together for a coherent conversation. All software requests were vetted through GSA’s legal, security and Section 508 teams before being presented to the EARC for discussion and approval. Each department of interest was then able to participate in the evaluation of these requests, to ensure that there was no needless duplication, as well as spread awareness of different software offerings that may be advantageous beyond the initial request. Kevin chaired this organization until GSA appointed a full time Chief Technology Officer (CTO). The EARC model was so successful that the CTO requested that this organization remain in existence to provide that focus of agency-wide interest and participation. 
- Established and led a process for reviewing and standardizing software acquisition to ensure that all purchases would adhere to legal, security and Section 508 requirements before being purchased.
- Established points-of-contact (POCs) and subject matter experts (SMEs) within architecture domains to review IT standards.
- Used metrics to drive decision making and establish customer service goals.
- Conducted monthly sprints with his IT Standards team to identify roadblocks and drive continuous process improvement.

IT Policy Management - With responsibility for overseeing all CIO policies, Kevin ensured there was little redundancy and no contradiction between 35+ different IT policies and that all of them remain current and relevant. GSA’s Directives Management Branch points other GSA offices to the CIO policies and GSA IT’s procedures as the model for success.

- Enhanced a formal and structured approval process for CIO policies allowing all organizations the chance to provide input, and to ensure timely completion.
- Stayed abreast of current technical and management issues to determine the need for new or updated directives.
- Improved the IT Standards process through a revised GSA-wide policy and strict implementation practices.
- Coordinated issuance of a new policy for the implementation of a GSA Enterprise IT Governance model.


CIO Review, September 2016, Delivering Business Value through Agile EA

GSA Blog, November 2014, GSA’s Application Rationalization Increases Efficiency and Saves Taxpayer Dollars 

Awards and Nominations:

2016 GSA IT Award for Excellence in Teamwork

2016 iCMG Enterprise Architecture Award winner for IT Landscape and Rationalization

2015 GovEA Excellence in Enterprise Architecture Award winner for EA Driven Results

2015 iCMG Enterprise Architecture Award winner for IT Landscape Rationalization

2014 iCMG Enterprise Architecture Award winner for Enterprise GovernanceRecognized as finalist for Forrester Enterprise Architecture Awards 2014, 2015, and 2016

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