The Government Information
by Bill Inmon
GIF is a blueprint or framework for how information systems need
to be built in the government. Based on the notion and success of
the data warehouse centric Corporate Information Factory (CIF) that
is found in the business environment, the GIF describes the architecture
of how government information systems need to be structured.
The architectural structuring of government information systems
is a difficult subject because there are many parameters that need
to be factored into the architecture and balanced accordingly Â–
the need for merging and managing data across multiple government
need for a holistic approach to security – looking at both break
in and surveillance security,
need for distributed metadata management and integrity of metadata
across the enterprise,
need for a “pathfinder” facility for the organization to be able
to easily find data and reports,
need to handle archival data in an efficient and agile manner,
without losing data and without costing huge amounts of dollars,
the need for the management of many technologies as a cohesive
addition, the GIF must satisfy the classical information needs of
the CIF which include – reconcilability of information when there
to respond to new and unknown requirements in an agile and timely
to store and use when needed historical data,
to manage large amounts of data without becoming overwhelmed by
those volumes of data and the budget required,
of data from many disparate sources,
need to support data mining and analytical processing,
of access of data.
two sets of requirements - for both the GIF and the CIF – require
a considerable balancing act. Architectural tradeoffs are made judiciously
and the different components of the architecture are placed properly
so that ALL objectives are met. In building the GIF framework, many
different factors had to be constantly kept in mind
is the cost of the framework. Creating a framework which is going
to cost unrealistic amounts of money is an exercise in futility,
technology is required. Does the technology exist today? Is the
technology likely to exist tomorrow? It makes no sense to create
a framework that does not have a technology foundation of reality
there a migration path from where an agency is at today to where
the agency needs to be tomorrow. If you can’t get to where the framework
tells you that you need to go, the framework is an exercise in futility.
the framework fulfill all the information needs of tomorrow’s government
agency. If anything has been left out, then the framework is less
than as effective as it could be.
the framework be used by normal professionals. If the framework
requires a Phd in mathematics and in physics then the framework
is not going to be very successful because there are only so many
people who are qualified to go around. On the other hand, the GIF
does require normal professional information processing skills.
An unreasonable set of personnel requirements and qualifications
for implementation greatly limits the applicability of the GIF.
the levels of performance that the organization needs to operate
going to be met. If the transactions and processes which the organization
runs on a daily basis are not going to be run in a timely manner,
then the framework will fail.
many ways the Government Information Factory is like a city planning
map. The layout of where components need to be placed and how those
components need to work with other components is what is found in
the GIF. Like using a city map, building the city is a long term
project. Also, like using the city map as a basis for building the
city, the GIF can have first one component built, then another.
The city can start to function as soon as the first part of the
city is built. There is no need to try and build 100% of the city
map before the city starts to become a useful place to live and
work. The GIF is a high level framework that balances all of these
objectives in a well thought manner. The GIF can be used immediately
by the information executive to answer such questions as – what
should I build next?
should I build next?
are the pitfalls with today’s information systems?
have other people solved the problems I am facing?
a high level design perspective, how should I structure things?
can I achieve my objectives on a limited budget?
does my long term vision look like?
the GIF consists of a high level diagrammatic overview, a description
of the different components of the GIF, a large document describing
some considerations in the implementation of the GIF, and a representation
data model for the government.
GIF was started on Sept 15, 2001, inspired by the events of a few
days earlier. It is anticipated that the GIF will be in a state
of completeness ready for public usage on approximately Jan 1, 2003.
GIF is designed for all government agencies – Federal, State, local.
The GIF is designed for both large agencies and small agencies.
more information about the GIF please contact
Lynn Inmon email
our list of
Certified GIF Architects