Central Government of India is planning to implement the India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA) that promises a single window digitization solutions for all its citizens. With IndEA there will be one personalized account for each individual and he or she can avail all government services from that personalized account. You would no longer have to visit separate sites and have separate logins on them to access government services.
The need for nationwide enterprise architecture is felt because e-governance projects are standalone initiatives and rarely holistic. They don’t conform to standards as defined by the government but are an automated result of the existing processes. Even if new systems are built the legacy systems continue, leading to a mismatch in delivery of services. Besides, many existing systems are vendor-driven and they seldom interact with others.
With the view to promote “Whole of Government” approach, adoption of TOGAF based IndEA framework remains a challenge.
The vision of IndEA is “to establish best-in-class architectural governance, processes and practices with optimal utilization of ICT infrastructure and applications to offer ONE Government experience to the citizens and businesses through cashless, paperless and faceless services enabled by Boundaryless Information Flow™.”
Re-working to IndEA architecture
Modelling and designing architecture such as the one forming backbone for government services is huge. Owing to resource intensive and time taking nature of the task, the activity keeps on getting postponed till even the first line of code is written.
Another school of thought for getting things moving, much before infrastructure is ready to deliver by deploying a MVP (Minimum Viable Product). This is popular agile methodology approach. There is merit in both school of thoughts. Agile IndEA may be envisioned as a sleek and simple way to adopt framework that combines “Vision” and “Velocity” centered around delivering “Value”. The “Value” is characterized by lean, collaborative and business-oriented efforts.
Essential components of Agile IndEA
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Value Streams
- Portfolio of Services
- Minimum Viable Architecture
- Building Blocks
- Product Roadmap
- Epics and User Stories
- Templates for core components of Agile IndEA
- Agile Procurement
Keeping in spirit the best practices of agile, only Just-enough-architecture is referred to from IndEA architecture. The concepts are applicable to both brown field and Green field projects. Brownfield projects are likely to have legacy applications. These application are advised to be vetted against “Digital Service Standards notified by MeitY.
The principles of Agile IndEA
MeitY identifies set of principles to be scrupulously followed so that goals of enterprise can be achieved. These are:
- Identify, Define and Assess Value
- Develop Just-Enough-Architecture (JEA), Just-In-Time (JIT)
- Adopt MINIMALIST approach in ALL aspects and at ALL stages
- Design a Federated Architecture Model
- Axiomize API-based access and integration
- Evaluate and Enhance CITIZEN experience continuously
- Follow Agile Procurement methods
In addition to above, the guidelines that complement agile practices are also recommended to be followed. These are:
- Start with quick wins, and split the long term vision in finite and short time-bound mile stones.
- Keep the core data and application components to minimum, and encourage ‘outside’ stakeholders of the system to design and develop majority of citizen facing applications.
- Enhance and integrate the qualified legacy applications rather than developing them afresh.
- Practicality is the name of the game. It is rather good to have a ready and functional system than keep planning for a grandiose architecture.
The framework is all about value. The cycle of value development is iterated as under:
- Identifying Value
- Defining Value
- Realizing Value
- Enhancing Value
The idea is not to identify the long term value at the beginning. The entire value can be identified in multiple cycles than in one cycle alone. Value is stakeholder-perceived value, for which one is ready to pay. The value may have economic, social, psychological or financial dimensions.
To achieve the aforesaid value, capabilities have to be developed around each stages of cycle.
The capabilities needs to be understood in terms of its components. In the context of Agile IndEA, components manifests in two basic forms – Artefacts and Actions.
Artefact: These arise out of thinking and culminates into work product specifications. These usually contain WHO, WHAT and HOW about identifying, defining, realizing and enhancing values.
An action is a set of activities aimed to translate the values articulated in Artefacts to realization of values.
The design steps and components for building e-Governance projects as per the specifications of IndEA would vary from project to project, but the underlying theme of IndEA would remain the same. The capabilities also shall evolve with time building a future ready ONE Government platform.