India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA): Catalysing One Nation One Government

… for ONE Government. IndEA as a National Standard. NeST. 7 Sept

The Central Government is planning to implement India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA), a concept that promises a single-window digitisation solution for its citizens. This is similar to the Andhra Pradesh Government’s e-Pragiti project that treats the state as an enterprise-of-enterprises. The National e-Governance Division, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), is entrusted with the mandate to form a division called India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA) to drive the initiative across government ministries, states and other agencies.

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What is India Enterprise Architecture Framework?

  • IndEA is a framework for developing an all-inclusive architecture that treats the government as a single enterprise or more accurately, as an Enterprise of Enterprises, which are functionally inter-related.
  • It is a structured combination of several Reference Models that, together, will enable a boundary-less flow of information across the length and breadth of the government and will facilitate the delivery of integrated government services to the stakeholders, namely, the citizens, businesses, and employees.

 

  • It is not an Enterprise Architecture. Rather, it is a comprehensive and convenient framework for developing Enterprise Architecture to support ICT enabled transformation across the governments.
  • IndEA, if implemented, can be adopted and used successfully, by the Centre, the State and local governments alike, irrespective of their size and current status of technology implementation.
  • It can also be used by PSUs, large departments and agencies of the government to derive the envisaged benefits.
  • In short, IndEA is a way to launch Unity in Diversity in the domain of e-governance.
  • With IndEA, there will be one personalised account for each Indian citizen.
  • This personalised account will provide all government services to that individual.
  • Thus, one need not visit separate website sites and have separate logins on them to access government services.

Structure:

  • The IndEA framework is based on a federated architecture approach and recognizes the need for accommodation both Greenfield (new) and brownfield (existing/legacy) e-governance initiatives.
  • It provides a generic framework that is based on The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF).
  • It comprises a set of architecture reference models that can be converted into a Whole-of-government Architecture for India.
  • The framework is based on 36 principles and 8 reference models that are supported by globally acceptable standards. The Reference Models are Business, Application, Data, Technology, Performance, Security, Integration and Architecture Governance.

What are the main principles of IndEA?

The Enterprise Architecture is founded on a set of principles that inform and guide the Architecture Development processes. The most important of these principles are as follows:

  • SDG linkage: Performance Measurement Systems and associated metrics are linked to Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Integrated Services: The integrated Services that cut across the agency-silos are identified and delivered through multiple delivery channels, to realize the vision of ONE Government.
  • Sharing and Reusability: All the commonly required Applications are abstracted to be built once and deployed across the Whole-of-Government through reuse and sharing. Sharing and Reusability shall be subject to compliance with the principles of Security and Privacy.
  • Technology Independence: Application Design is open standards-based and technology independent.
  • Data-sharing: The data is shared across the Government, subject to the rights and privileges, to prevent the development of duplicative sets of data by different agencies. Data sharing is also subject to conformance with the principles of Security and Privacy.
  • Cloud-First: Cloud infrastructure is chosen by default for the deployment of applications and the on-site option is resorted to only with strong justification.
  • Mobile First: Mobile channels are mandatory for the delivery of all services, among all delivery channels.
  • The primacy of principles: The principles specified in this framework govern all reference models and their implementation.

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Why do we need IndEA?

  • Nationwide enterprise architecture is necessary because, in the current times, the e-governance projects are standalone initiatives and are rarely holistic.
  • They don’t conform to the standards defined by the government but are automated results of the existing processes.
  • Even if new systems are built, the legacy system continues to exist. This leads to a mismatch in the delivery of services.
  • Also, many of the existing systems are vendor-driven and they seldom interact with others.
  • Thus, the IndEA comes in handy.
  • This is because it is a generic framework that comprises a set of architecture reference models, which can be converted into an integrated architecture, including ministries, states, government agencies, etc.
  • Therefore, it can provide ONE Government experience to the citizens and businesses by assuring integrated services through multiple channels in a seamless fashion.
  • Thus, the government can work as a single enterprise, enhancing its technical and economic effectiveness.

What are the advantages of IndEA?

  • It can improve government service delivery by defining and systematically enforcing them.
  • This, as a result, can improve the efficacy of the implementation of the developmental and welfare schemes based on holistic performance management.
  • It can also significantly bridge gaps in the institutional capacities besides acting as a common benchmark.
  • It not only reduces the cost of building systems but also ensures that they are well-integrated and increase the longevity of the e-governance software assets.
  • A unified government agenda can improve the citizens’ participation and can lay the foundation for the utilization of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence in governance.
  • It can also greatly enhance the productivity of the employees and agencies through easy access to information.
  • It can bring in flexibility in making changes in the systems to align with the best practices and utilize the latest technologies.
  • It may have the capacity to maintain the security and privacy of the personal information to some extent.
  • It is a step towards a Connected Government that is well-coordinated in the implementation of inclusive development goals.

What are the challenges?

  • IndEA framework is generic. Therefore, it cannot be used straight away by any enterprise.
  • It has to be customized to fit the broad requirement of the vision and objective of the enterprise.
  • Enterprise Architecture has elaborate dependencies and interconnections between several parts.
  • Therefore, it is not possible to pull out the individual components, redesign and implement them in isolation as it may seriously harm the interoperability and integration capacity of the government.
  • Wider adoption of IndEA remains the biggest challenge as similar initiatives in the past like Open Standards Initiative of MeitY have been thwarted.
  • Desired benefits can be obtained only if IndEA is mandated at all levels of the government.
  • The adoption of Enterprise Architecture has been explored by many countries but it may take a decade to evolve.
  • So far, the international success stories or benchmarks are few and far between.
  • But this endeavour may prove to be a necessary tool for a diverse nation like India.

Conclusion:

IndEA is an asset to India in its effort towards digital governance. Through this, India can establish itself as a knowledge economy. Therefore, all possible steps must be taken by Enterprise Architects to recognize its importance and must deliver the necessary resources and efforts adequately in the planning phase.

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