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The White House has released an enterprise architecture framework to help the federal government save money on information technology costs.

Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel released the “Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture” that directs agency leaders to develop an agencywide enterprise architecture that brings together strategic drivers, business requirements and technology.

The common approach provides integration points with other governance areas including strategic planning, capital planning, program management, human capital management and cybersecurity.

“EA is uniquely positioned as the management best practice which can provide a consistent view across all program and service areas to support planning and decision-making,” the document said. “EA standards also promote mission success by serving as an authoritative reference, and by promoting functional integration and resource optimization with both internal and external service partners.”

The document aims to drive home the following general principles:

Future-Ready: EA helps the Federal Government to be successful in completing the many missions that the Nation depends on. Mission requirements continually change, and resources are often limited – EA is the key business and technology best practice that enables Agencies to evolve their capabilities to effectively deliver needed services.

Investment Support: EA supports intra- and inter-agency investment decision-making through an “architect – invest – implement” sequence of activities. Agencies must ensure that investment decisions are based on architectural solutions that result in the achievement of strategic and/or tactical outcomes by employing technology and other resources in an effective manner.

Shared Services: Agencies should select reusable and sharable services and products to obtain mission or support functionality. Increasingly, the Federal Government is becoming a coordinator and consumer as opposed to the producer of products and services. Standardization on common functions and customers will help Federal Agencies implement change in a timely manner.

Interoperability Standards: Federal EA promotes intra- and inter-agency standards for aligning strategic direction with business activities and technology enablement. Agencies should ensure that EA solutions conform to Federal-wide standards whenever possible.

Information Access: EA supports Federal Government transparency and service delivery through solutions that promote citizen, business, agency, and other stakeholder access to Federal information and data, balanced by needs for Government security and individual privacy. EA solutions should support a diversity of public and private access methods for Government public information, including multiple access points, the separation of transactional fromanalytical data and data warehousing architecture. Accessibility involves the ease with which users obtain information. Information access and display must be sufficiently adaptable to a wide range of users and access methods, including formats those with sensory disabilities. Data standardization, including a common vocabulary and data definitions are critical.

Security and Privacy: EA helps to secure Federal information against unauthorized access. The Federal Government must be aware of security breaches and data compromise and the impact of these events. Appropriate security monitoring and planning, including an analysis of risks and contingencies and the implementation of appropriate contingency plans, must be completed to prevent unauthorized access to Federal information. Additionally, EA helps Agencies apply the principles of the Privacy Act of 1974 and incorporate them into architecture designs.

Technology Adoption: EA helps Agencies to select and implement proven market technologies. Systems should be decoupled to allow maximum flexibility. Incorporating new or proven technologies in a timely manner will help Agencies to cope with change.

Full report:

THE COMMON APPROACH TO FEDERAL ENTERPRISE ARCHITECTURE