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Enterprise Architecture Background Information

  1. What is Enterprise Architecture?
  2. What is the Federal Enterprise Architecture?
  3. How is Enterprise Architecture used within HHS?
  4. Legislative Drivers
  5. Office of Management and Budget - Directives, Guidance and Reports


What is Enterprise Architecture?

Enterprise Architecture is the practice of applying a comprehensive and rigorous method for describing a current and/or future structure and behavior for an organization's processes, information systems, personnel and organizational sub-units, so that they align with the organization's core goals and strategic direction. Although often associated strictly with information technology, it relates more broadly to the practice of business optimization in that it addresses business architecture, performance management, organizational structure and process architecture as well.

The enterprise architecture process helps to answer basic questions like:

• Is the current architecture supporting and adding value to the organization?

• How might an architecture be modified so that it adds more value to the organization?

• Based on what we know about what the organization wants to accomplish in the future, will the current architecture support or hinder that?

The architecture process addresses documenting and understanding the discrete enterprise structural components, typically within the following categories:


Strategy, goals, corporate policies, Operating Model, Business processes


Application software inventories and diagrams


Data models: conceptual, logical, and physical


Hardware, platforms, and hosting: servers, and where they are kept

The EA provides a mechanism for understanding and managing complexity and change as it pertains to key HHS-wide business processes and their related IT support. The EA is a strategic resource that helps HHS plan and implement information technology solutions and manage the resulting investment portfolio to meet business needs. The EA can guide IT investments and ensure alignment of the IT investment with HHS plans at both the strategic and detail levels.

The EA is a core decision support tool that integrates enterprise information, planning, and management functions (including aspects of strategic planning, human capital, continuity of operations, security, investment, business processes redesign, information management, and facilities.)

An Enterprise Architecture has three parts:

  • Baseline Architecture (often referred to as the "As Is")
  • Target Architecture (the "To Be")
  • Transition Plan

The Baseline Architecture formally documents the existing systems.("System" refers to all aspects of the enterprise, including business processes, organizations, structures, facilities, etc., not just information technology or computer systems.) This formal documentation makes it possible to visualize issues, relationships, and integration opportunities within the current environment.

The Target Architecture is the formal documentation of the desired future vision - defining and validating future requirements and the optimization of opportunities.

The Transition Plan documents how to change from the Baseline to the Target. Typically a Transition Plan focuses on a new or major system upgrade, or on an accelerated, high priority IT enterprise system change.


What is Federal Enterprise Architecture?

To facilitate efforts to transform the Federal Government to one that is citizen-centered, results-oriented, and market-based, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is developing the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA), a business-based framework for Government-wide improvement. The FEA is being constructed through a collection of interrelated "reference models" designed to facilitate cross-agency analysis and the identification of duplicative investments, gaps, and opportunities for collaboration within and across Federal Agencies. FEA models are defined as:

• Business Reference Model (BRM)
• FEA Performance Reference Model (PRM)
• Service Components Reference Model (SRM)
• Data and Information Reference Model (DRM)
• Technical Reference Model (TRM)What is Federal Enterprise Architecture?

Visit the OMB E-Gov web site for more information.


How is Enterprise Architecture used within HHS?

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the U.S. Government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. Spanning more than 300 programs, HHS is the Nation's largest health insurer and the U.S. Government's largest grant-making agency.
HHS's over-arching central direction is to function as a single entity, as "One HHS," rather than as a collection of disparate and unrelated agencies. To this end, HHS is reforming Department management processes, improving its programs, and continues to increasingly collaborate and coordinate significant activities among HHS agencies. The importance of a one-team approach has been underlined by the extensive new demands on HHS and its agencies to rapidly enhance preparedness against terrorism. The HHS Strategic Plan contains a management improvement and excellence goal, which includes strategies to consolidate personnel offices; modernize and improve human, financial, and technological management at HHS; and reform regulations to reduce excessive paperwork and burden on doctors and hospitals so that they may have more time to deliver quality care. The HHS Information Resource Management (IRM) guides alignment of Information Resources with the overall Departmental strategic objectives. Enterprise Architecture enables HHS to document and manage the information assets that support fulfillment of the Department's mission and goals. EA facilitates analysis and use of information regarding business processes and the data, resources, information services and systems that support these business functions.


Legislative Drivers

The following legislation imposes requirements that drive the design of the HHS enterprise architecture.

• E-Government Act of 2002
• Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA)
• Government Paperwork Elimination Act of 1998 (GPEA)
• Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996
• Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
• Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA)
• Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)


Office of Management and Budget - Directives, Guidance and Reports

A series of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directives and guidance documents impact the development of the HHS enterprise architecture and the identification of enterprise investments. The list below highlights only several OMB Circulars and guidance documents, even though HHS considers and adheres to other IT policy and guidance documents issued by OMB.

• Circular A-11 Part 7
• Circular A-11 Part 53
• E-Government Strategy and Report to Congress
• Circular A-130 Subject: Management of Federal Information Resources
• Circular A-76
• Memo 97-02
• Memo 97-16 OMB Information Technology Architecture

Visit the OMB web site for more detail regarding the above policies.