Basics of the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework

The Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) provides the Federal Government with a common approach for the strategic integration of business and technology management. This framework and associated artifacts aid in planning, decision making, and management across agencies.

At the center of FEAF is the Consolidated Reference Model (CRM). The CRM equips Federal agencies with a shared language and framework that is needed to unilaterally describe and analyze investments. There are six sub-architecture domains within the Framework. These domains include:

  • Strategy
  • Business
  • Data
  • Applications
  • Infrastructure
  • Security

 Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a description of current structures and behaviors within an organization’s processes, personnel, information systems, and organizational sub-units. EA is used to support planning and decision making efforts so that the organization’s structures and behaviors can better align with core goals and strategic direction. Documenting an agency’s Enterprise Architecture allows leaders to gain a new, abstract view of an organization at varying levels of scope and detail.

Enterprise Architecture helps organizations ask and answer the following types of questions:

  • Does the current architecture support and add value to the organization?
  • Will future changes to the architecture still enable it to support and add value to the organization?
  • Can the architecture be modified to add additional value to the organization?
  • Will the current architecture support or hinder future organizational goals?
  • Will the current architecture support or hinder the organization’s future strategic direction?

 Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) Benefits

The six sub-architecture domains are used to facilitate inter- and intra-agency analysis. Through this analysis, the Government can better determine where duplicate investments have occurred. Gaps and opportunities for collaboration, both within and across agencies, can also be identified. This analysis is designed to improve efficiencies and increase Return on Investments (ROIs).

The use of FEAF’s six sub-architecture domains can also enhance an agency’s ability to prioritize strategic goals. Through analysis and prioritization, the likelihood of effectively and efficiently achieving goals is increased. From the highest organizational level to the hardware and software infrastructure, FEAF helps agencies understand how to more effectively and consistently achieve mission goals.

How to Apply FEAF

An agency should develop a set of “core” artifacts. Artifacts will serve to document the environment within the framework that is presented by the CRM. Each of the six sub-architecture domains represents a specific area of the overall framework; therefore, each domain will require individual artifacts. Documentation will depend on factors such as:

  • Agency-specific need for detail
  • Ability to answer questions about requirements
  • Ability to address applicable standards
  • The established timeframe
  • Available resources

 By applying FEAF protocols and subsequently developing an EA, an agency will be better equipped to facilitate planning for the achievement of mission goals. The Collaborative Planning Methodology can be used to further develop an Enterprise Roadmap and a transition plan to move toward the future state goals.

An Enterprise Roadmap should include:

  • Present current and future architecture states at a high-level
  • A transition plan to achieve the future state
  • Supporting artifacts representing both the current and future state

An Enterprise Roadmap creates awareness, transparency, and visibility within an organization, facilitates cross-organization planning and ties projects and budgets to strategy. Enterprise Roadmaps create a direct “line-of-sight” from projects to the strategy they support and provide authoritative information for planning, decision making, and management.

To continue the discussion about implementing the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework, contact us.

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