The Business of Government Hour

 

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The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. The executives discuss their careers and the management challenges facing their organizations. Past government executives include Administrators, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Information Officers, Chief Operating Officers, Commissioners, Controllers, Directors, and Undersecretaries.

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Norm Lorentz interview

Friday, December 20th, 2002 - 20:00
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Norm Lorentz
Radio show date: 
Sat, 12/21/2002
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Norm Lorentz
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Arlington, Virginia

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, the co-chair of The Endowment for The Business of Government. We created The Endowment in 1998 to encourage discussion and research into new approaches to improving government effectiveness. Find out more about The Endowment by visiting us on the web at www.businessofgovernment.org.

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. Our conversation this morning is with Norm Lorentz. Norm is the chief technology officer at the Office of Management and Budget.

Good morning, Norm.

Mr. Lorentz: Good morning.

Mr. Lawrence: And joining us in our conversation is Bob Reeve.

Good morning, Bob.

Mr. Reeve: Good morning.

Mr. Lawrence: Well Norm, let's start by trying to understand OMB and your office. Could you explain its mission, its activities?

Mr. Lorentz: The office in which I reside -- I work for Mark Forman. Basically, Mark is the CIO for the federal government. And so his title feeds the office. The office is the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information Technology in E-government.

And basically, the office was established to implement e-government. And I, as a chief technology officer for the federal government, work for Mark. And it's specifically appropriate that we would be in OMB, with the M for management and B for budget. Generally speaking, that's how you deploy and control IT spending.

Mr. Lawrence: And what do you do as the chief technology officer?

Mr. Lorentz: If you look at my job description, it's a rather global job description. It says to oversee the deployment of the most effective technology in the entire federal government in order to serve the citizen. So it's a rather intergalactic kind of description. The practical side of it is I have responsibility for making sure, using an architectural approach, that we use consistent technology in solving business problems that serve the citizen.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, how do you do that? As I understand, it's a rather small office. And yet the government is rather large. How do you do that?

Mr. Lorentz: As most of the folks that live in OMB understand, we really don't own anything. We're not an operational organization group, management and budget management, if you will.

The ownership actually occurs in the agencies. And so the process owners, if you will, reside in the agencies. And so we work with the process owners in doing the implementation of the technology. So you leverage a relatively small staff of effective people in working with those agencies.

Mr. Lawrence: Norm, you've described yourself as a pragmatic technologist. What do you mean by that?

Mr. Lorentz: Well, I, in my career, I actually chose to get out of the technology business for a while. I took a hiatus. This was in the late-�80s. I actually was at USWest at the time. And there was a leader there, Jerry Johnson, who headed the market unit, who served basically for that territory, the consumer market. And he actually put me in charge as a product director over installation and repair, of all things.

I got out of technology, because at the time, it was a technology push. It was technology looking for a place to happen. And in my view, it really wasn't serving the needs of the customers, at least in terms of what I saw.

So I got into marketing, and what I discovered in marketing was, in order to serve the customer, all the dots had to be connected. The only way I could serve the product was to get all of the responsible people in the room. And I said, there's got to be a better way. And it was then that I discovered quality, which basically is a systematic approach to solving customer needs. And there's a lot of parallels in the approaches between the deployment of technology and what's called quality management, in terms of what NIS calls its performance excellence.

So I got out of technology. And I believe technology is an extraordinary how. I think you have to nail down what the specific problem is that you're trying to solve, what is it that the citizen wants first, and then you deploy the technology in the context of what the citizen wants.

And if you're doing anything else, then arguably, you're deploying technology in a way that may not take you where you want to go.

Mr. Lawrence: You've described a little bit about the background that you have in that. But can you tell us more about your career prior to joining OMB?

Mr. Lorentz: Well, I'm a veteran. I served time during the Vietnam era in the Air Force. Not something I would have chosen to do, but it ended up being a fabulous experience. I leveraged that, got a job in what was called the Bell System at the time, what's now called Verizon.

My first programming job was out on Route 29 at Fairlane Data Center. And basically worked for them in installing large network systems that had been developed by AT&T and Bell Labs. In that regard then was approached by Mountain Bell, which is now -- was USWest, and is now Qwest, to go out and install those same systems, and so moved to Denver.

So I had 24 years of experience in what was called telcom, and large network systems as well as systems planning. And then ultimately, I got to do product management. Moved from there. Took a job as the chief quality officer at the United States Postal Service in '94, moved back to Washington, worked for Marvin Runyan in that position.

And really understood for the first time the importance of deploying private sector approaches in the federal government. And we did so effectively, I think, for a period of time. We raised overnight delivery scores to levels that I'm not sure the organization ever figured they could reach, and they did. And also at the same time, took out a tremendous amount of cost, and really put off a rate increase for longer than in recent memory. So basically, I think what we can remember from that is that government employees are as competent as anybody around. And my experience is they just need to be given the right direction and the right tools, and they'll be as successful as anyone.

Became chief technology officer under Bill Henderson, a great job. Pretty large-scale technology deployment and so forth. Was responsible for Y2K. And as soon as we successfully completed that, I decided I really needed to go back into the private sector and really understand what is this thing called the Internet.

So I jumped into the dotcom arena, went to work for a company called Earthweb, Inc., which is now Dice, Inc. At the time I joined them, they were online portal content management, an online job board, and certification for IT professionals. I was a senior vice president and chief technology officer there. I oversaw in total, you know, thirty-or-so production sites, learned like crazy. I had two objectives there. One was to learn a lot. And the other was to never have to work again. And I achieved one of those two objectives.

In all truth, Dice is still in business because the business case worked. There's real customers for the IT professionals as well as the companies that are looking for -- and that was a great experience.

And then I had the unfortunate circumstance of being at National Airport on 9/11. I was a commuter to New York. And our site was served out of Des Moines. I was waiting in National Airport for a flight to Des Moines to go to our site, trying to have a conference call with a CEO and chief financial officer at my office in Manhattan, overlooking the World Trade Center.

And needless to say, I never completed that conversation with them, because they were standing at the window, observing the horror that we all experienced. But basically, standing there in National Airport, I decided personally this is not going to happen again on my watch.

And it was then I decided that probably I needed to see what I could do to help. And then, just like so many other things that happen in people's careers, there was a destiny thing. I resigned from my position at Dice, and had observed what Mark Forman's mantle was, his mission, in a conference, and heard that he had a job opening, and was fortunate enough to connect with Mark. And we immediately hit it off, because we have a similar approach in the way we deploy technology to serve customer needs. And here we are.

Mr. Lawrence: Your career is interesting. You've worked in both the public and the private sector. You began to contrast some of the differences. I wonder if you'd take us through sort of your perception of the differences, and also the similarities in the two sectors.

Mr. Lorentz: When I was working for the Postal Service, I really thought I was working for the federal government. But the Postal Service is a hybrid in that the Postal Service really does have products and services. And so I saw, other than the fact that the Postal Service was created by legislation, as opposed to a marketplace decision, a lot of similarities there. The tools -- both the quality tools and the deployment of technology, was very similar. It was a bit more regulated, but not that different than being in a regulated telcom.

I mean, there was the Postal Rate Commission. We had the FCC. So there was a lot of similarities even in a regulated telecommunications entity. And then, as I already mentioned, the people are rock solid, the education is good, the human capital management piece is certainly excellent. What I've noticed -- and this is the major issue of transformation -- now that I'm in "the real government," which really is government that is implemented in terms of agencies and programs, is there is a fundamental difference in the way a company is constructed in the free market, where you rally around customers -- focus on customers, and deploy products.

This government is � certainly, you've got three big pieces that our forefathers created -- the Legislative, the Hill, and Executive. That's different. And then also the way the citizen has been served up to this point is different, in that the services to the citizens are hatched, if you will, in agencies and programs. And it's a fundamental difference.

I have to say to you that also gets directly in the way some days in terms of getting the citizen what they really want. Ergo, the reason why we're doing e-government transformation.

Mr. Lawrence: That's a good point to stop on. Rejoin us after the break as we continue our conversation with Norm Lorentz of OMB.

Do you know what enterprise architecture is? You'll find out when we ask Norm when The Business of Government Hour returns.

(Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, and today's conversation is with Norm Lorentz. Norm is the chief technology officer at the Office of Management and Budget.

And joining us in our conversation is Bob Reeve.

Mr. Reeve: Norm, for those who aren't familiar with it, can you describe the Federal Enterprise Architecture for us?

Mr. Lorentz: I'd be happy to. An enterprise architecture, by the very nature of the first term, enterprise, means that it's an architecture for the entire boundary of what you are trying to improve, if you will. So when you say FEA or Federal Enterprise Architecture, it's an architecture for the entire federal government.

In a simplistic sense, it is a business line description of what the federal government does on behalf of or for citizens. That's what it is. There's 35 roughly citizen-facing and internal lines of business. And basically, it talks about, you know, what are the specific products and services, if you will, or products that we deliver on behalf of, like, war fighting. You don't deliver to the citizen, but you perform that on behalf of the citizen.

Mr. Reeve: Most people think about enterprise architecture; chief technology officers think about technology. How does an enterprise architecture go beyond IT?

Mr. Lorentz: I think, you know, probably a more apt application for my title might be chief transformation officer. By the way, it includes an extraordinary deployment of technology.

But really, an enterprise architecture looks at all resources that are deployed in those lines of business and ordered to serve, in our case, the citizen. In the private sector, it would be the customer. And they have similar enterprise views around their product lines, products and services, in the private sector. And so it is not only technology, but it's also human capital. And it's also large fixed assets.

So we're starting with technology. This FEA initiative is sponsored and sanctioned by the CIO Council of the federal government. We're moving quickly into operationalizing that, if you will, and really standing up an FEA office that likely will be similar to other offices that are stood up in OMB.

Mr. Lawrence: What's the business reference model?

Mr. Lorentz: There's five reference models that make up the Federal Enterprise Architecture. The first two reference models are the performance reference model and the business reference model. Those two pieces are the business description of the federal government, with the business reference model being the lines of business definitions, and the performance reference model being the metrics.

So when you're doing process improvement, or looking at process systems, which is what this is, you don't have a process system unless you have both a description of the line of business or process, and an outcome metric so that you can set targets about how you want to do improvement.

The other three reference models that we're working with are more the technical support of what those business lines and metrics are. There's a service component reference model, which is basically reusable technology components. It could be ERP, it could be CRM. But it's major technology components that are then reused to solve problems in the lines of business.

Then you have a data reference model. And of course, if you're in technology, you know that everything circles around the data. It's how you decouple. It's basically the circulatory system, if you will, for technology. And then lastly, there's the technology reference model, which really is like the OS, the platform. And it's just as important.

The more variation you have in serving a customer, the more unpredictable the outcome is. So it says that using a standard set of technology components, if you will, service components, data, and the fundamental technology, consistent use of that makes your service for your citizen more predictable.

Mr. Lawrence: Is it hard getting these things right, the FEA and the business reference models?

Mr. Lorentz: Well basically, the citizen -- the cat is out of the bag. Most of the time, when I talk to people and audiences, I ask them how many folks in the last 48 hours have done a transaction on the web that has enabled them to have greater control of their life. Very seldom is there a hand that's down.

So, we have 22,000 websites in the federal government. The citizen is basically telling us -- and every time we ask them, they say, I don't want to deal with you 18 times, 10 times, 20 times. I want to deal with you once. I want to deal with you when I want to, how I want to, and where I want to. And so basically the private sector has kind of ruined it for us, I mean, because really, world-class companies give the customer what they want, and customize, even down to the individual customer. They expect the same thing out of us.

So, in one of the key experiences, if you'll recall 9/11 one more time, you've heard the stories about people in New York, people in Washington, the Pentagon and so forth, trying to figure out what benefits might be at their disposal. They didn't have a single place where they could go -- a portal, if you will, where they could really find out grants and benefits that they could use.

And so we've worked, in terms of the 24 e-government initiatives -- we've worked at closing those gaps. But literally the reason for doing this is the citizen is saying I want the government to perform for me, just like I'm performed for by the private sector in my daily life.

Mr. Lawrence: So I guess the real challenge with the government then is to have an approach that's more focused on the mission or the citizen than the agency.

Mr. Lorentz: Absolutely. And so therein lies the dynamic tension. And again, I have to say to you -- and in the 10 short months, almost 11 now that I've been here, I haven't met a single employee in the federal government that's a bad person. Everybody wants to do what's right.

But the way we have constructed how we serve the citizen in only agencies and programs sometimes gets in the way of really giving them what they actually want. And further, if you look at the business reference model that's broken up into three pieces, the top piece being the business area around the citizen, those lines of business are done by at least 10 of the 24 agencies. All 10 of them do all of those lines of business.

You get into the next layer, which is the supporting business area, which is like public relations, legislative affairs, et cetera, 21 out of the 24 are doing all of those lines of business. And the bottom layer, which the private sector has termed is the back office, which is where ERP, et cetera, are, your financial human resource systems, all 24 are doing all of them.

So not only is the citizen seeing it with huge variations, so are our employees. And so that is not what they would wish to have; plus, there's a huge cost of redundancy. And as you know, we're in a deficit spending mode right now. So we need to look at places where we can more effectively deploy technology, save money, and then redeploy that into areas where we need to do investment.

Mr. Reeve: How do you convince the agencies to shift from an agency focus to a mission focus when their interest is in sort of taking charge of their own operations and capabilities?

Mr. Lorentz: Well, there's two practical points of view. First of all, again, good people -- you bring the data from the citizen. You create a structure within which they can participate, which is the FEA. And generally speaking, I think they will participate.

From a more practical standpoint, there is an act called the Klinger-Cohen Act that requires all agencies to have an enterprise architecture, and to use that as their roadmap for the improvement of their agencies. That's not enough. The citizen is now saying to us leverage that requirement to across the government, and give it to us how we want it. In fact, by law, they're required to participate in enterprise architecture planning and deployment.

So, just as in any other situation, when you're doing transformation, it only occurs when there is the right set of rewards as well as consequences if people don't participate.

Mr. Lawrence: How would you compare the federal government to its private sector counterparts in the development of enterprise architecture?

Mr. Lorentz: Well, it's kind of interesting. I had a meeting with the chief architect for General Motors. We did a joint thing for The Endowment, a joint breakfast. They in the private sector, excellent companies, as termed by the Baldridge Award or whatever, are doing enterprise architecture work. That's the way they manage their businesses. It's the only way you can connect all the dots and make sure every day that your customer sees the same level of service, and a consistent level of improvement.

In the government, we actually have an advantage in terms of, like, the example of General Motors, the chief architect indicated he thought it would be nice if he had a law that would force each of the car lines to do their own EA. But he doesn't have that. And so we were lamenting the fact that perhaps in this case, the federal government might actually be in a position to lead the private sector in doing the more grand-scale enterprise architecture and deployment. I don't know whether that's true or not. But you can always hope.

Mr. Lawrence: Can you give us an example of an initiative or an agency that's making effective use of FEA?

Mr. Lorentz: The agencies have all gotten the message that they need to do EA. Now, the issue is we don't need to have that many EAs going on. I mean, you generally need one per agency. So we're going to have to work through that.

But they've gotten the message. And by the way, EA is an integrated part of the capital process for the federal government now. It is the fabric within which the '03 budget, and now the '04 budget, is being organized and aligned in terms of the IT investment. And so the same thing holds true. Labor has done some good work in integrating EA with the capital planning process; work in progress in EPA. HUD has done some good work. And then those are just examples. There are others as well.

But the important message is in terms of the President's scorecard around e-gov is that it requires participation in this blueprint called EA. And so all of the agencies are being rated. So I would say you can go out to either -- you can go out to the OMB website and take a look. And I would encourage everybody to do that. Go out and take a look, because that will give you the status on where each of the agencies are in the deployment of EA.

Mr. Lawrence: That's a good stopping point. We've got to go to a break. Come back with us after the break as we continue talking about management with Norm Lorentz of OMB.

What's the status of the 24 e-gov initiatives? We'll ask Norm for an update when The Business of Government Hour returns.

(Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, and today's conversation is with Norm Lorentz. Norm is the chief technology officer at the Office of Management and Budget.

And joining us in our conversation is Bob Reeve.

Mr. Reeve: We've mentioned a couple of times now the e-government initiatives. There's 24 of them. Can you tell us more about how they grew out of the President's Management Agenda?

Mr. Lorentz: Absolutely. When I arrived in January of '02, the 24 initiatives had already been selected out of a process that was called Quicksilver. And there was a group headed by Mark Forman. And it was people participating from the agencies, as well as OMB. And they sifted through 9,000 major initiatives and distilled that down to the 24 most important. And they did that based on what was best for the citizen, what was available in the marketplace, and something that could be delivered in 18 to 24 months.

And you've got to understand. They did these selections before 9/11. And if you look at the 24 initiatives that fall into portfolio segments -- and again, managing these things by segments is very private sector. Understand who your customer is. There's a government to citizen, there's a government to business, there's an internal effectiveness and efficiency, and there's G-to-G. And if you look at G-to-G, that is where you have wireless, that's where you have e-vital, that's where you have geospatial.

Those initiatives hit the sweet spot of homeland security. You have the government to citizen, the e-tax, the work that's being done by the IRS in terms of making it easier. And then you have the other piece of it which sits over in government to business, where there's an initiative that make it easier for companies to file taxes.

There are countries in the world -- Norway is one of them -- where the government actually renders a bill. And the bill looks like the end of you're AMEX statement, if you will, or if you have a credit card that has them. And it shows you your puts and gets.

And so, if we do this right, ultimately the companies can electronically -- XML et al. send the information, that can be processed by the federal government. And then a bill can be rendered, and you should be able to get a statement ultimately that says to you this is what looks like. Sign. And it gives you enough information so if you wanted to say well, this isn't exactly right, or whatever. And so again, it's that map set. And then the internal effectiveness and efficiency focuses on back office. But more importantly, the initiatives around federal employees. Payroll, human resources information, benefits.

I'd have to say to you that, you know, it looks like in the next 3 to 5 years, we have the potential to lose half of the human resources in the federal government. It's going to be a terrific loss. And I have to say to you with the current state of the human resources systems in the federal government, it's going to be really tough, on a day-to-day basis, to get high performance young professionals to come into government and stay. Because, you know, you have to have a subsistence level of employee support in order to get people to stay.

And so again, you look at those initiatives that were hatched pre-9/11 and so forth. That hits the sweet spot of improving the systems that we need in order to engage employees and retention. So we've made quite a bit of progress. Govbenefits is in its second iteration. Recreation online. Again, there's a number of -- and certainly firstgov -- Yahoo puts it in its, you know, top 25 portals. We've made a lot of progress of, you know, one click -- as Mark Forman says, one click to service. We've made a lot of progress, but we've certainly got long ways to go.

Mr. Reeve: Like the Federal Enterprise Architecture, e-authentication is an initiative that sort of underpins all the others. Can you tell us about the status of that one?

Mr. Lorentz: Yeah. E-authentication, basically, again, our citizen-customers are saying to us that they really don't want to have to identify themselves to us more than once. And so e-authentication is a process that's the consistent process, security process, the authentication process that is used for our citizens to access its government.

And so it's a common initiative across the other 23 initiatives. The bridge is up, and there's actually agencies that are participating in the use of the bridge. Progress is certainly being made in terms of that common approach. And then again, Ultimately -- and I haven't said this up to this point -- the horizontal integration that the Federal Enterprise Architecture enables is not only civilian government; it's DoD and the intelligence community as well.

And literally in our architecture work, we have included them in the architecture planning. The same thing ultimately can be said about e-authentication. Ultimately, it should be across the entirety of the federal government. The other thing in terms of the Federal Enterprise Architecture that I'd also like to add is that there is vertical integration in order for those e-government initiatives -- especially when you think of geospatial and wireless -- we have to do integration with the state and local governments as well, working with NASIO et al. in order to be able to have that vertical integration.

The citizen can only be served if there's both horizontal and vertical integration. But you know, e-authentication is a great example of progress made. There are such things as the Liberty Alliance that's out in the private sector, where a lot of private sector organizations have gotten together and kind of created this in a pseudo-environment.

And basically, the citizen is saying the same thing in the private sector. I really don't want to have to have 82 passwords, I don't want to have to have 10 certificates. I want my credentials to be secure and consistent, and easy to use.

Mr. Lawrence: What are some of the management challenges that the agencies face as they implement e-government?

Mr. Lorentz: Well, obviously, the one that we've already talked about in terms of the mission of the agencies, in many cases, is born of the legislation that created it, and not necessarily in alignment with what the citizens expect. So, again, that's the current situation. And so there needs to be a cross-reference or mapping of the agency missions. And again, this is what we're doing in the enterprise architecture, and first with the IT resources. We're basically mapping the requests within agencies and within programs. We're mapping that to the business reference model by line of business, by function, by sub-function, and doing redundancy and GAP analysis.

And ultimately, that can be done for human capital management and large fixed assets as well.

Mr. Lawrence: The Solution Architect Working Group. Tell us what that is, and what its role is in supporting the FEA.

Mr. Lorentz: Well, for those of us who have been around technology for a long time, there has always been one type of very important human being. We used to call them business analysts. And that was the human being who basically was capable of understanding the business requirements as well as the technology to be deployed in solving those problems.

This is the latest version. A solutions architect is basically someone who takes a component in consistent technology architecture and applies it to business to solve business problems. And there's two types of human capital professionals in the federal government that we have severe shortages of. One is program manager, certified, experienced program managers. And that is a significant opportunity for improvement, both in terms of e-government as well as any new initiatives.

And we're also short of solution architects. The solution architect working group is chaired by Bob Haycock, who is the chief architect for the federal government. Basically, he chairs that group, and it's the solution architects from the agencies, meeting in a group, to -- and that basically are engaged first in supporting the 24 e-government initiatives. And so basically, it's connecting the dots between what the expected outcome is for the citizen and deploying the most effective technology structure.

Mr. Lawrence: As I understand it, one of the objectives of the group is to make sure that standard technologies are being used across government. How do they do that?

Mr. Lorentz: As you all know, part of web services is becoming more mature. And there are some that are still a work in progress. But clearly, web services supports the idea of having a directory of components, or a directory of services. And so what we're talking about here is -- and by the way, a process view of serving a customer says the more different approaches you take in serving the same customer, the more unpredictable the outcome is.

So there's a practical side of this, in terms of not having redundant ITs serving the customer with the same line of business. And that is they're not seeing consistent service. So redeploying a consistent component. If you're doing -- if you need a portal, there should be a consistent set of technology components that enables that portal construction.

If you're doing content management in the back end, then you should be able to have a consistent set of components. And I'm not saying one. There may be three or four, or X number of content management capabilities that are all plug and play database management systems. You know. What are that small number of effective technical capabilities that are going to be plug and play so that everybody can achieve a consistent outcome?

Mr. Lawrence: That's a good stopping point. Rejoin us in a few minutes as we continue talking about management with Norm Lorentz of OMB.

What is a truly seamless government and how close are we to reaching it? We'll ask Norm for his perspective when The Business of Government Hour returns.

(Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, and today's conversation is with Norm Lorentz. Norm is the chief technology officer at the Office of Management and Budget.

And joining us in our conversation is Bob Reeve.

Mr. Reeve: Norm, what's your vision for the federal agencies in enterprise architecture and the need to move that forward over the next 5 to 10 years?

Mr. Lorentz: Well, I think first of all, we're in, you know, the early gestation of the architecture. I mean, literally, the first version of the business reference model was just released. The balance of the reference models, their first versions will be released by the end of the year.

So for the '94 budget cycle, which we're in the middle of right now, they've had that business reference model to be able to look at. But there's another capability called FEAMS, F-E-A-M-S, Federal Enterprise Architecture Management System, which is a web-based securer portal that the agencies and OMB -- mutually -- OMB serves it, the agencies participate with it. That allows them to construct the next version of the enterprise architecture. And then to plug in the various initiatives, do what-ifs, and look for common initiatives that can be done cross-agency.

That also, by the way, would create a capability that might enable the Hill to be able to look at what we're doing in terms of architecture and in terms of doing line of business cooperation across agencies.

So that's not in place yet. But it will be in place. Version 2, the BRM will be in place, FEAMS will be in place for the start of the '05 budget cycle, which will be certainly in January as soon as we finish the '04 budget cycle.

But ultimately, taking a broader picture -- the nice thing about the federal enterprise architecture is that it's organizationally agnostic. I mean, you literally map the capabilities that are required to serve the citizen. You can have a line of business, and literally it, in theory, as long as it's done in one effective way, it could exist in more than one agency. But ultimately, what's going to happen is that form follows function. So ultimately, what I would see working with the Congress, working with the Office of the President and the agencies, is that ultimately, you'll see a transition in the structure that will align with lines of business, and what the citizens want. And that will probably happen over the next 5- to 10-year period.

Mr. Reeve: That's kind of a soft sentence for what one could imagine. It's a pretty radical change of our government. Am I hearing that correctly?

Mr. Lorentz: Absolutely. I mean, it's focus on the citizen and what the citizen wants in a very measured and aligned way. This is the way excellent private companies operate. This is what the citizens expect of us. And if you can't measure it, then you can't see whether you're improving it or not. So you have to have those consistencies in metrics, and you have to have that consistent method of operation by line of business, in order to serve the citizen.

Mr. Lawrence: You've talked a couple of times in our conversation about connecting the dots. What do we need to do to connect the dots between federal, state, and local government?

Mr. Lorentz: Well, the same thing that we're talking about in terms of doing the horizontal integration across the agency -- civilian, DoD, and intelligence in the federal government -- holds true doing vertical integration, because in many cases, the products of the federal government are delivered through the state and local jurisdictions. E-grants is certainly one of the examples of that. There's a variety of others.

So literally, we have to do the same line of business integration, common language creation, metric creation, vertically and horizontally. And the organizations that I have talked to -- and by the way, this is in its infancy, we haven't nearly made the progress we need to make in working with state and local governments. That's really next on our agenda. Literally, they are ready to partner with us in connecting those dots. And certainly the areas where you can picture the most need for improvement is wireless. We've all heard the horror stories about the inability to communicate, the lack of standards and so forth between state, local, and federal government.

There's a lot of work around that's been created. But in the end, there needs to be architecting done so that we're not being wasteful and also very effective. So that vertical integration has to happen in the same time frame. It's absolutely essential.

Mr. Reeve: So how close are we really to this big transformation called the seamless government from the citizen's perspective?

Mr. Lorentz: Well, we're in the middle of it right now. We're in the process of launching the first version of the performance reference model, which is the metrics. That's very, very supportive and integrated with the President's Scorecard Initiatives in terms of having metrics around performance. And something that's called the part, which is occurring in the context of those initiatives and reviews that we're going out and reviewing the top 200-plus major programs in the federal government in alignment with the President's key initiatives and the scorecard.

So this is happening right now as we speak. And we're on the threshold of a dream, if you will, in terms of being able to have measurable government, where literally the citizen, just like they can with the private sector company, they can have the third party rating agencies actually take a view of what the government's products and services are and render an opinion, because it will be that measurable.

Mr. Lawrence: Let's bring it down a little bit, because a key part of all this work will be the Solution Architects Working Group. What near-term challenges are they going to face?

Mr. Lorentz: Well again, I think the short-term problems that we have in terms of the major IT investments and investments in general is around having effective plans and program management, so that again, in the context of the architecture, you have an outcome that's expected. You have qualified, certified, experienced program management, and then you also have the Solution Architect capability.

And the major roadblock that we have right now is numbers. And so when you look at the human capital management initiatives, there is a Human Capital management Committee of the CIO Council, under Ira Hobbs. And they are directly involved in looking at the gaps in both the program management capability and the Solution Architect capability.

And there is a partnership with the private sector. When we look at Solution Architects, those are the types of resources, thinking in terms of future employment; the program management and solution architect functions we would like to have in the government. Those are the functions of government.

And then they are put in the position of managing the heavy IT construction that we buy from the private sector. So it's important now to create the right number of those program management capability type folks as well as the solution architects.

Mr. Reeve: So there's a real need there. What advice would you give to a young person who is seeking a career in government, or seeking a career?

Mr. Lorentz: Well, certainly I'm maybe a little prejudiced here. And I'd say I was a little self-serving. But I do really believe that out of 9/11, one of the silver linings, if you will, has been the catalyzing nature of what folks want to do in order to make this a better place to live. And we all know now that we're all in this together.

And so I do encourage young people to engage in the federal government. I can say from experience, there is no better place to serve. And then the other thing I would say there is also no better place to go and find the latest technologies that you know can be used to serve the citizen.

And again, we need to put in place as part of the internal effectiveness and efficiency portion of the 24 e-gov initiatives those types of systems, human resources, payroll, et cetera, benefits -- that will encourage folks to come into government and stay. And just speaking for OMB, I'm surrounded by a lot of very bright, capable young professionals. And more coming every day.

Mr. Lawrence: Well Norm, we're out of time. Bob and I want to thank you for joining us this morning in an interesting conversation. And I was hoping you could also mention the websites again, because I'm sure there are people interested in some of the topics.

Mr. Lorentz: I think in terms of the 24 e-government initiatives, the OMB website would be where you'd want to go. And if you are specifically interested in the Federal Enterprise Architecture, to view the business reference model, that's at www.feapmo.gov.

You can also go to the website for the Council of Excellence in Government. They also have the e-gov initiative information out there, in terms of how they were formulated and how that went.

Mr. Lawrence: Great. Thank you. This has been The Business of Government Hour featuring a conversation with Norm Lorentz, chief technology officer at the Office of Management and Budget.

Be sure and visit us on the web at businessofgovernment.org. There, you can learn more about our programs and research, and you can also get a transcript of today's very interesting conversation.

Once again, that's businessofgovernment.org.

This is Paul Lawrence. Thank you for listening.

Norm Lorentz interview
12/21/2002
Norm Lorentz

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