NASCIO Maturity Model

NASCIO Enterprise Architecture Maturity Model

There are many maturity models in the Enterprise Architecture field today. Each maturity rating system provides an infrastructure and criteria to determine an organization's maturity. The three most prominent models to consider are established by three different organizations, have different focuses, and provide different levels of agility and maturity level expectations. These three models are provided by the General Accounting Office (GAO), the Gartner Group, and the National Association of Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). Each evaluation structure is different and so are the different criteria to achieve the maturity level rating.

The NAISCO is an association membership field is comprised of a diverse and tiered approach to membership participation levels. State officials who hold executive-level and statewide responsibility for information technology leadership are considered primary members and hold full NASCIO participation whereas state officials who are involved in agency level information technology management participate as associate members. NASCIO membership rounds out with federal, municipal, and non-profit organizations with private sector organizations participating in the Corporate Leadership Council.

The NAISCO Enterprise Architecture Maturity Model performs a similar service for State and Local Governments to use to objectively review the condition of their Enterprise Architecture model as does the GAO model for the Federal Government. NASCIO participants in this model use a multitude of detailed category criteria; they can attain a maturity rating as well as provide direction for obtaining the future states of program maturities from these elements. This assessment tool is an output of the association's mission to "foster government excellence through quality business practices, information management, and technology policy."(

Levels zero through five in the NASCIO model all have a standard set of categories and statements that indicate the criteria for acceptance at each level. In order to be rated a numerical level in this model all statements must be satisfied according to each of the statement criteria. The categories each level's statement utilized are listed in the Exhibit # 1 (NASCIO, NASCIO Enterprise Architecture Maturity Model Version 1.3, 2003).

Category Definition
Administration Governance Roles and responsibilities
Planning EA program road map and implementation plan
Framework Processes and templates used for Enterprise Architecture
Blueprint Collection of the actual standards and specifications
Communication Education and distribution of EA and Blueprint detail
Complaince Adherence to published standards, processes and other EA elements, and the processes to document and track variances from those standards
Integration Touch-points of management processes to the EA
Involvement Support of the EA Program throughout the organization

Each category statement has different degrees of criteria listed in each maturity level. The aggregation of statements across levels' categories defines that maturity level as a whole. In order to understand the general level of maturity associated with each level, the NASCIO standard provides a statement that summarizes the expectations established for each enterprise architecture program at that level as provided in Table #2. (NASCIO, NASCIO Enterprise Architecture Maturity Model Version 1.3, 2003).

Level # Maturity Level Descriptions
Level 0: No Program There is not a documented architectural framework in place at this level of maturity. While solutions are developed and implemented, this is done with no recognized standards or base practices. The organization is completely reliant on the knowledge of independent contributors.
Level 1: Informal Program The base architecture framework and standards have been defined and are typically performed informally. There is general consensus that these steps should be performed, however they may not be tracked and followed. Organizations with an Enterprise Architecture framework at this level are still dependant on the knowledge of individual contributors.
Level 2: Repeatable Program The base architecture and standards have been identified and are being tracked and verified. At this point in the program processes are repeatable and reusable templates are starting to be developed. The need for product and compliance components to conform to the standards and requirements has been agreed upon, and metrics are used to track process area performance.
Level 3: Well Defined Program The enterprise architecture framework is well defined; using approved standard and/or customized versions of the templates. Processes are documented across the organization. Performance metrics are being tracked and monitored in relationship to other general practices and process areas.
Level 4: Managed Program At this point performance metrics are collected, analyzed and acted upon. The metrics are used to predict performance and provide better understanding of the processes and capabilities.
Level 5: Continuously Improving Vital Program The processes are mature; targets have been set for effectiveness and efficiency based on business and technical goals. There are ongoing refinements and improvements based on the understanding of the impact changes have to these processes.

NASCIO Enterprise Maturity Model

Whereas the maturity level descriptions summarize the status of an EA program, the model's category statement descriptions determine the differences between each level. The rule with the NASCIO model is that each EA cannot skip a level, must pass through each level in order to obtain the next highest level, and sustain the previous levels' achievements each time a rating increases. The transformation of an organization's EA Program from Level 0 to Level 5 are not achieved in a fiscal quarter, in bi-monthly increments, and in some cases a year because the fact that the scope of an EA program is so large, the pieces that are needed to complete and sustain a program are numerous and time consuming, task durations mirror the scope of the EA. The image below shows the key aspects of an EA program at each NASCIO maturity level where the standard describes the full category and statement list for every level.

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