Throughout our work on the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) Subsequent Procedures (SubPro) Operational Design Phase (ODP), I've been communicating about how this effort is organized. In my last blog, I wrote about Work Track 3, Operational Readiness. Closely paired with that effort is Work Track 4, Systems and Tools. It includes the proposal, design, and implementation of secure, private, and efficient systems for future gTLD application rounds. Developing the processes for ongoing maintenance and continuous improvement is also included in this track.
The Work Track 4 team works closely with other members of the ODP team to understand what services and processes must be in place for the next round. As a part of its due diligence, the Work Track 4 team will assess the necessary business processes and consider which systems and tools will best deliver the desired processes and outcomes. For example, they may ask questions such as "How might we do that?", "Can this be automated?", "Is there a process now?" This approach also enables the Work Track 4 team to identify other areas that must be assessed and addressed before implementation.
Ideally, the Work Track 4 team will be able to identify off-the-shelf solutions that can be configured rather than building something new, which costs time and resources. The challenge is to find a technology platform that maps to the business case and supports the systems and tools that will need to work in parallel. The team will evaluate potential systems and technologies and compare them to ICANN's existing solutions from a technical, data protection, functional, and financial standpoint. From a security and usability standpoint, systems must be optimized to ensure users have the best possible experience for the next and future rounds.
There are several inherent challenges to developing the associated systems and tools. For example, to implement an initiative of this scale, the ICANN organization will need to build systems and tools that support the needs of applicants, any vendors performing evaluation tasks, the ICANN community, and the various functions of the ICANN organization. The team not only must understand the totality of solutions needed, but also the interdependencies and sequencing required for the efficient and seamless operation of these systems and tools.
The Work Track 4 team is closely following the progress and recommendations of each SubPro ODP work track, particularly as it relates to systems and tools moving forward. In many cases, Work Track 4 activities are dependent on the outcomes of work occurring in other work tracks, for example, analysis of policy recommendations, and development of business process requirements.
The Work Track 4 team will use this information to design, and estimate the cost of, a system based on an "architecture of capability" to support future rounds.
We look forward to sharing more about this, our work tracks and SubPro ODP milestones in future blogs. To learn more and read previously published blogs, or review the high-level timeline, visit the SubPro ODP webpage or reach out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.