Woohoo! Enterprise Architecture!

A few weeks ago I wrote this story about the unknown quantities of electronically generated public records that are simply vanishing from state computers, but after reading this Feb. 9 news release on how Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is improving “California’s Information Technology Systems,” I’m wondering if the public is really losing access to anything valuable.

Let’s start with what the release says is a direct quote from Schwarzenegger (for fun around the office, try reading it aloud to your colleagues using your best German accent):

With today’s action we are acknowledging the process that has been made, while laying the framework to make further improvements in the state’s IT operations. This action will increase transparency in spending, promote greater cost savings and define specific targets to reduce energy usage in our IT systems and further consolidate services.

Enlightened? If not, here are two excerpts from Executive Order S-03-10, signed by Schwarzenegger yesterday and attached to the press release:

WHEREAS the State of California is full committed to leveraging a common technology platform and shared services in order to make state government more transparent, accessible and accountable, enhance the quality of services to residents and businesses, ensure the security and reliability of the state’s information systems, protect the privacy of information and data, promote emerging technologies, and develop enterprise applications with standard interfaces.

Agency CIOs [Chief Information Officers] shall be responsible for developing the enterprise architecture for their respective Agencies, subject to review and approval of the OCIO [Office of the state CIO], to rationalize, standardize, and consolidate IT applications, assets, infrastructure, data, and procedures for all departments, boards, bureaus and offices within their Agencies.

Common technology platforms? Standard interfaces? Enterprise architecture? Seriously — what the hell are they talking about?

Please keep in mind that these excepts are not taken from a secret technical report or internal memo meant for distribution only to members of the scientific community.

That this release was meant for the general public is laughable. The governor’s press office — which apparently is staffed by new-fangled robots who speak only management platitudes and legal disclosures — honestly thought people who work for a living would derive some kind of benefit from reading it.

Of course, it’s also tragic. Did I mention the taxpayers paid for the writing and dissemination of the release?

-Anthony Pignataro

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