Adapt Enterprise Architecture best practices around the world to Malaysia’s public sector
Enterprise Architecture (EA) practitioner and expert, Chris Forde pointed out to a public sector audience that enterprise architecture is not only about IT, but rather is a management discipline that enables transformative change in organisations globally.
He said this during MAMPU’s Public Sector CIO CONVEX 2016 event that was officiated by the Chief Secretary to the Government of Malaysia, Tan Sri Ali Hamsa. MAMPU had also launched Public Sector ICT Strategic Plan (PSISP), a blueprint that would steer the implementation of Malaysia’s digital government over the next five years.
Sitting in a panel of enterprise architecture academicians, experts and practitioners, to discuss Empowering Enterprise Architects to Lift Digital Business Strategy Forde had said, “Enterprise architecture deals with both foundational activities to enable long-term change and value- added delivery.”
He also observed Malaysia’s scenario and noted the unique challenge that we have, “Being new to enterprise architecture as a government of industry is common. You are in competition for global talent, but you have to develop it here instead of go to a world market.”
The reason this is so, is because of EA’s relative newness at 30 years of age – it hasn’t been around long enough like other professional careers such as accountancy or engineering.
“We are too new at this, therefore there is a lot of disagreements still among professionals. Some professions took over 170 years to mature, to be accepted societally, to be legislated and regulated.
Young, and yet…
Despite this, most governments can no longer overlook EA’s role in enabling delivery of next-generation digital services to citizens. Korea served as a prime example of this, beginning their EA journey in 1998 with the TOGAF standard.
“In many surveys, Korea is number one in terms of digital government implementation. Open standards guided them, and they did (the implementation) in many phases,” said Forde who is also APAC GM and VP of Enterprise Architecture for the global consortium of 500 member organisations, The Open Group. TOGAF is also the defacto global standard framework for enterprise architecture.
For Malaysia, MAMPU, often viewed as the CIO for the local public sector have already launched 1GovEA, a blueprint which a framework and methodology for guiding the public sector agencies build their EA practices.
Director of ICT Strategic and Architecture Development Division at MAMPU, Pn. Hamimah Ibrahim, who was also a panellist, said, “In MAMPU, we have set a direction for public sector IT delivery”
Sharing that Malaysian public sector service delivery is already at version 3.0, she explained that citizens will be ahead of government services all the time, and that it is tough to keep up with citizens especially when they access to all kinds of information whether factual or not.
“We are trying to be one step ahead when providing services,” she said and explained that and in order to for this transformation to happen public sector agencies have to collaborate more and that there has to be more visibility so as to remove duplication of processes among all the agencies.
This goes a long way in moving from being a service provider to being a service facilitator.
Forde pointed out that EA requires a flexible mind of its professionals. “So, the EA approach is about building flexibility for change.”
For example, another panellist Dr. Ole Nielsen, Director of Scientific Computing & Systems Engineering at Geoscience Australia gave the example of Agile Planning Day, one day every few months to take stock of what’s happening at Geoscience Australia and appropriately adjust.
He said, “We think a maximum of ten weeks into the future.
“Our vision and goal is consistent, but how we do it, adapts.”
Dr. Ariffin Marzuki, a certified anaesthesiologist who was previously charged with spearheading EA implementation for Institut Jantung Negara, echoed this practice, opining that enterprise architecture is a continuous feedback of learning and adapting that requires competent teams.
Another matter which was broached as well was policy and legislation.
Forde cautioned that policy-based EA isn’t only a requirement for governments but regulated industries as well and commented, “It’s hard to associate EA with policy, but when you start to flesh models out, you will see policy and legislation having to guide EA.
“Legislation drives what occurs for the nation. Having policy-based EA to enable citizens is critical.”
Now more than ever
According to Forde, “The need for EA is especially pressing now, because technology is more pervasive now than before, and budgets for tech is usually limited.”
His advisory to the largely public sector audience, is to look for open standards and EA best practices reference around the world, to adopt, adapt and use locally.
“There are lots of opportunities to dramatically improve services to citizens that EA can accelerate the realisation of these services,” Forde said.