Triptych - 1: ICT projects succeed through quality from within!

By Wilbert Enserink

Last late summer a Dutch governmental committee released a report with the title "towards grip on ICT" and is commonly referred to as “the Elias report”, because of the chairman. The report was released to address the problem that ICT projects are not in order. The report gives an important recommendation of the establishment of the BIT: Bureau ICT Testing. The advice to create a new control instrument, the BIT, raises many questions. Even more controls, audits and reviews. Does that really contribute to a better running project? Within the principles of the BIT as also formulated from the Dutch Government’s response to the Elias report, Highberg (formerly known as VKA) is of the opinion that one of the possible mechanisms to a better running project is not yet sufficiently highlighted. We argued for an improvement of the content, i.e. a change in a project from within in the area that matters: the quality of the solution. A better quality project...who wouldn't want that? Let me explain how we envision this in broad terms. 

Highberg's proposal is to introduce a coherent system of three recommendations. The recommendations are based on a triad of expertise, independence and transparency: 

  1. Introduction of independent Information Supply Architect 
  2. Establishment of a Specialist Team 
  3. Visualization ICT project 

In this blog, I explain how Highberg views the role and position of an independent Information Provision Architect. Items 2 and 3 will be covered in subsequent blogs. And then the next step 'How to proceed'. 

Information Provision Architect 
IT project quality improvement

1. Introduction of Information Supply Architect

Of course there must be sufficient ICT knowledge and experience within all levels of an organization to successfully complete ICT projects, especially the complex and specific ICT projects. However, in order to incorporate all the knowledge and skills, developments and possibilities of ICT in a proper and structured manner in an ICT project, the introduction of a function of Information Provision Architect is necessary, comparable to an architect in the construction world. 

Such an Information Provision Architect does not exist now. The Information Provision Architect has two essential characteristics: expert in the entire field and independent of interested parties, such as ICT development companies. 

An Information Provision Architect must master all aspects involved in the design, development and use of an ICT system. The Information Provision Architect can fulfill two roles: as a designer and as a supervisor of implementation. In the proposed setup, an Information Provision Architect is the ICT system's master builder, who designs the system, supervises its construction, and ensures its proper commissioning and management. This officer is an independent expert, who is university trained with rigorous educational requirements and where there are high demands for continuous professionalization, practical experience and continuing education. This position is recognized as such and must be registered in an Information Provision Architect Register with a protected title. 

The Information Provision Architect can fill in any gaps in ICT knowledge and expertise to the client from an independent position and is also an expert and skilled functionary to the implementers, the ICT suppliers and builders of an ICT system (as with a construction architect to the contractors). In government, a National Information Systems Architect could or rather should be appointed as the ICT authority. 

There are currently all kinds of ICT architects, but not according to the signature of this proposed recognized and well-trained official. However, it should be possible to initiate and grow this development to the necessary level and guaranteed position in the near future. 

All kinds of requirements and recommendations made in the execution of an ICT project will be part of the portfolio of the Information Provision Architect who can then also ensure their proper application and execution. An additional and no small advantage is that with this a significant step can be taken nationally and internationally for the development of knowledge management in this area. 

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