Enterprise Architecture at HHS

This is the second article in a 3-part series covering the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework.

The Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) provides the U.S. Government with a comprehensive and common approach to the strategic integration of business and technology management, as a larger part of performance improvement and organization design. This common architecture facilitates multiple types of analyses across Government Agencies.

The first article in this series, Basics of the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework, outlines how enterprise architecture can be used to support organizational planning and decision-making efforts. In this article, we review how the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has applied the FEAF to their Agency.

Enterprise Architecture at HHS

Based on the FEAF, HHS leverages an Enterprise Architecture (EA) that supports the Agency’s mission.

The HHS Enterprise Architecture provides the foundation for allocating resources of all types toward the realization of the Department’s strategic business goals and objectives. The EA is a strategic resource that helps HHS plan, invest in, and implement information technology solutions to meet business needs and help manage the IT investment portfolio. It provides a mechanism for understanding and managing complexity and change. EA products identify the alignment of organizational business and management processes, data flows, and technology.  They also enable identification of capability gaps and duplication.”

HHS Framework Overview

HHS has developed an Agency-specific Enterprise Architecture consisting of the following layers:

  • Strategy – The identification of strategic goals and objectives
  • Business – Determination of essential business activities and how each will be managed to achieve HHS goals, missions, and objectives
  • Investment – The financial aspect(s) of HHS that rely on Enterprise Architecture data to improve the control of information
  • Services/Systems – Necessary systems to provide the infrastructure needed to support business activities
  • Data –Identification of the data needed to support business activities
  • Technology – The identification of what technologies should be used to build system services
  • Workforce – Roles and key positions that are needed to support business performance
  • Facilities – Accommodations needed to support organizational activities
  • Security and Privacy –Controls that need to be in place for each EA level
  • Performance – Measurement indicators that will be used to analyze performance at all levels of the enterprise

Artifacts

HHS has developed a number of artifacts that are designed to support the efforts of the EA platform. These plans and documents include a Transition Strategy, Strategic Plan, Governance Plan, Training Plan, Enterprise Architecture Framework, working group charters and a Data Center Consolidation Plan.

Finally, the HHS Guidelines for EA Compliance within the Enterprise Performance Life Cycle (EPLC) was written to succinctly outline the requirements needed to complete architectural analysis. This document makes it easier for HHS to repeatedly complete and institute processes, policies, governance, and deliverables.

HHS Working Groups

HHS maintains three key working groups in support of the EA Program. These three groups are not only a part of the EA platform, but they are designed to enhance the agency’s ability to successfully meet mission objectives, goals, and programs. These working groups include:

  • HHS Enterprise Architecture Review Board (EARB) — The EARB is a decision-making body that works in consultation with the HHS Chief Enterprise Architect (CEA). Together, these two entities oversee the application of an EA that is consistent with the Agency’s mission, objectives, and goals. The EARB provides guidance in resolving architecture issues and facilitates communication between divisions.
  • HHS EA Model Working Group (MWG) — The MWG governs the HHS EA Framework. It is designed to ensure consistency throughout the Agency.
  • HHS Data Architecture Working Group (DAWG) — The DAWG focuses on enabling enterprise-wide consistency of data related activities. It is the responsibility of DAWG to assist in maturing and refining the HHS Enterprise Data Architecture.

Together, the documents and working groups strive to achieve a cohesive environment, while providing a common approach, structured methodology, and standardized performance indicators. The HHS Enterprise Architecture helps to bring clarity to the Agency’s mission-critical efforts. To this end, it brings a stronger value to the American public by providing a more efficient and cohesive environment for the delivery of health and human services investments.

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