Governance process aligns IT requirements
September 26, 2012
In a command as vast and loaded with such a huge variety of information technology, the Army Contracting Command's Chief Information Office G6 has the task of corralling the various information tools to ensure they are aligned with the command's tasks and missions.
"Information technology governance is a method of ensuring that you have a requirement, the necessary funding to build or buy it, and to ensure it aligns with the overall plan and structure," said Adrianne Day, ACC CIO G6, chief, IT Governance, Program Management Office and Business Management.
"It's like deciding if you need a new washing machine and dryer. Do you have a requirement, the need or desire, to replace the old or broken ones? What is actually wrong with what you have? What is the cost to replace them or fix them? Do you even have the budget to do either?"
Day said the requirement has to be aligned with priorities in funding as well as need.
"The IT governance process is a necessary function within any organization and it is not strictly a G6 process. This process serves all of ACC and its subordinates -it doesn't replace any other process, but it does enhance the ad hoc method of capturing requirements, providing visibility into our current architecture being used today and fielding solutions to be used tomorrow," she said.
"Introducing a standardized process to capture IT requirements helps an organization align to its strategic plan and helps an organization rack and stack IT requirements and fund the most critical ones first," Day said. "Essentially, IT governance is a way of providing visibility into the acquisition, use and disposal of IT equipment across the command."
As funding is reduced across the Department of Defense, Day said the process will assist decision makers on how they need to spend their IT dollars on systems that have the most impact on ensuring their mission continues unhampered.
"This process provides ACC leadership the ability to obtain insight and inject foresight into the acquisition, use and disposal of IT systems. Additionally, it gives ACC IT users a liaison or advocate for having their needs addressed at an enterprise level," she said. "The process incorporates all the ad hoc processes and encapsulates them into one main process that allows a structure for capturing IT requirements and if approved, a solution that can be delivered to the end user."
The IT governance process is in effect now and Day said the word needs to get out to the ACC workforce as socialization and utilization of the initiative is the priority.
"The IT Governance process consists of four boards that each requirement must go through to ensure the requirement ultimately aligns with the ACC strategic plan It has a start and completion where it is then handed off to a team that will either extend, build or buy a solution and then deliver that solution to the customer," she said.
The IT governance process is driven by the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, a federal law designed to improve the way the federal government acquires, uses and disposes of information technology, as well as recent Office of Management and Budget, Government Accountability Office and other federal mandates.
"G6 is responsible for the IT governance process, but all of ACC will participate if they have IT requirements. The governance process is based upon a three-tier structure that optimizes business across all ranks," Day said.
Those tiers are: executive leadership, G6 and users.
"The executive leadership is the mechanism to gain Insight and inject foresight into the acquisition, use and disposal of IT. The G6 generates, integrates, communicates and controls the IT life cycle management process and data, to include program financial management. Users have a voice for their IT needs and the process is their liaison and advocate into the G6," Day said.
"Additionally, the governance board leverages the roles and relationships of ACC's parent and subordinate commands as well. Each provides specific services to drive IT governance efficiency and effectiveness."
According to Day, the process streamlines the IT requirements processes helping ACC leadership to assess the current portfolio for business standardization and optimization opportunities.
"It also helps us recognize and manage the risks, constraints and return of investment of other IT service strategies, implements a centralized, enterprise-wide IT forecasting capability and capital investment decision framework," Day said. "It also allows us to inject innovation into the business of acquisition for the Army and provide a strategic alignment of IT investments with ACC's business objectives and the Army's strategic vision for IT."
"Ultimately, this process will ensure customers receive a solution for their requirement," Day said. "It's important to understand that governance drives and affects every IT project across ACC. It is the key to fielding, satisfying and enhancing all IT solutions to needs across the enterprise, the cornerstone to a fully optimized ACC IT service model."