Here's an extract from my Government Enterprise Architecture paper from September 2003:
The principal now is that data can be exposed to many viewers – internal staff, third parties, intermediaries and the citizen/business themselves. The number of data sources has been dramatically reduced, perhaps not to one but to a few at least. This has been achieved principally through abstracting the original back end systems using clever technology known as web services and through creating a set of consistent and reusable components.
The journey to such an enterprise architecture is lengthy – even achieving such a vision in a single department is a huge challenge. It may be appropriate to think of progress being made along 4 axes, not necessarily with equivalent speed. The axes are business process, business application, business data and technology infrastructure - note that the focus is on business involvement and leadership, especially around such important areas as data.
The model might look like the figure at right. Progress is made by moving out along any of the axes, with the time to make progress and the potential for cost saves increasing the further out you move. Although, progress need not be equivalent against each axis at the same time, there will be points when the next level of change can only be achieved when enough, dramatic progress has been made across each axis.
That slide doesn't look too clear in the blog and I can't find the original to paste in. I'll keep looking for it and then expand on this post.
But the recent HMRC (and everyone else's) data problems reminded me of some of this - I was trying to create a future model for government technology where the citizen would be put back in control of their data, there would be common (not consistent) processes in government and an integrated suite of technology built with re-useable components.
Governments were, and are for the most part, in the middle of the middle: individual processes custom built each time, data held within individual applications, multiple over-lapping business applications and multiple technology infrastructures even within single departments. No wonder data exchange is hard.