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Researchers aim to better Asian e-govt

update New Singapore research project to help administrations beef up enterprise architectures for government connectedness initiatives.

update SINGAPORE--The National University of Singapore's Institute of Systems Science (ISS) unveiled Tuesday a new research project to help governments, especially those in the Asia-Pacific region, build up their enterprise architecture (EA) to support more advanced e-government initiatives.

Speaking at the 2nd Innovation Update Seminar here, Pallab Saha, architecture and governance evangelist at ISS, noted that one of the outcomes of the 15-month program starting April 2010 will be to develop a generic government EA framework. ISS provides IT education and training programs in Singapore.

The project will be sponsored by Microsoft. The software giant will also support the initiative by providing subject matter expertise and facilitating access to governments, according to the institute.

By July 2011, the research team also aims to profile successes in utilizing government EA toward achieving connectedness, particularly in the areas of healthcare, education and government administration, said Saha, who is the lead for the project.

Citing a local public agency, Saha noted that EA is a platform that "ensures coherency to the enterprise mission". A well-developed EA links business, information, applications and technology--four important elements in any organization.

An EA, he pointed out, is also essential for e-government, particularly as administrations move from mere Web presence and interaction requirements to transactional and transformational levels. It would be "impossible for the government to move to advanced levels of maturity", or connectedness, without such a framework.

The need for coherency, he added, is all the more important now as the public sector is moving away from a top-down approach where "there is no single authority" setting decisions on what needs to be done but instead a "network of organizations" that collaborates on the way forward.

"EA is essential for managing complexity and change; to manage you have to be coherent," said Saha.

The ISS has been involved with the Singapore Government Enterprise Architecture, which includes Magenta (Methodology for Agency Enterprise Architecture), a set of guidelines released in January 2007 to guide individual agencies in EA development. According to Saha, Magenta was recognized as the world's first national EA methodology, and is influencing government EA programs in several countries.