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Healthcare.gov: Why Business Architecture Matters

When consulting on software projects, there is a common question many Enterprise Architects may ask of product owners: “What exactly are you trying to accomplish?”.  All too common in software projects is the scenario where business analysts and product owners, when considering system requirements, are most concerned with what happens when this button is clicked, does it call this system, or that system, what does this screen look like, or what happens when I click the back button in a web browser.  In other words, too much emphasis is placed on capability, rather than solving the business problem at hand.  A very important step in these projects that is all too commonly overlooked is an examination of the business function being implemented, including an analysis and detailing of the related processes and the milestones necessary to achieve the goals of these processes. This examination must be completed in order to effectively answer the question of how a software implementation can help augment, scale, or otherwise enhance the business function.  This examination is a key component that can and should be described under the Business Architecture aspect of the overall Enterprise Architecture.  The goal of this exercise is to convince Business Analysts and Product Owners to forget IT and software and focus on the business process and the business goals. Continue Reading »

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healthcare.gov: Architectural Lessons We Can Take Away

HealthcareDotGovAmid the fanfare, the excitement, resentment, and fervor surrounding the rollout of the new Healthcare exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, the one topic that everyone can agree on is that the Federal Marketplace Website at http://www.healthcare.gov flat out stinks.  For IT professionals, however, there is much to be learned from the issues that have been uncovered thus far.  This article will highlight some of the common problems with the implementation of the exchange website, and some common practices that IT architects and developers can use to mitigate the associated risks.

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“What” is the most important aspect of Enterprise Architecture(?)

A common question frequently asked in regards to Enterprise Architecture is the question, “What is the most important aspect to keep in mind when considering an Enterprise Architecture initiative?”  The only logical answer to this question is, “That is correct!  What IS the most important aspect when considering an Enterprise Architecture initiative”.

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Work-around for the healthcare.gov exchange identity verification bug

Applicants that signed on within the first few days were unable to verify their identity through the Experian identification process due to the heavy load on the system.  The identity verification would fail, and the account would be forever locked out from trying again.  The system would then ask the applicant to upload documents for manual verification by an associate, however, because the verification failed unceremoniously, the account would not be marked for manual verification.  Users can upload their identification endlessly, and an associate that would verify their identity would never receive the verification request.

This article serves to detail a work around for users attempting to enroll in the healthcare exchange that have run into this issue.  It will only work for those users that had a system failure on previous attempts to complete the identity verification process and are in a locked-out state.

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Business is Analog, IT is Digital: Making the Connection

DigitalOver the course of the last two decades, the world has seen a steady acceleration of growth in its thirst for information.  The dawn of the information age has brought a new enlightenment to the masses, where the question of if information is available has ceded to the question of where information is available.  Businesses at all ends of the globe are scrambling to meet this demand for information, be it the price of durable goods, stock market data, or what’s new with family and friends.  This growth in need for information has sparked an ever increasing demand for Information Technology professionals, even as the supply has lagged behind. Continue Reading »