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Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF)

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, IT Governance Frameworks (170-slide PowerPoint presentation). This presentation is a collection of PowerPoint diagrams and templates used to convey 30 different IT-related frameworks, models, standards and methodologies. (Please note that these are diagrams and charts that are to be used in your own business or classroom presentations. These are not [read more]

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Enterprise Architecture (EA) denotes management best practices for lining up business and technology resources to realize strategic results, expand upon Organizational Performance, achieve Cost Optimization, and steer departments to achieve their core missions through Operational Excellence.

Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) was first introduced in September 1999 by the Federal CIO Council for evolving an EA within any U.S. federal agency.  FEAF assists through documentation and information that conveys a summarized outlook of an enterprise at various tiers of scope and detail.

FEAF offers a shared approach for the consolidation of strategic, business, and technology management as a component of Organization Design and Performance Management.  FEAF introduced a methodology for an Enterprise Architecture that transcended several interagency boundaries.

The Collaborative Planning Methodology suggested along with FEAF is envisioned as a complete planning and implementation lifecycle, for employment down all tiers of scope defined in the Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture—i.e., International, National, Federal, Sector, Agency, Segment, System, and Application.

May 2012 saw a full new guide, called the “Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture.”  The guide offers an overall approach to establishing and employing Enterprise Architecture in the Federal Government for expanding joint approaches to IT service delivery.  The Common Approach homogenizes the expansion and employment of architectures within and between Federal Agencies.

A 2nd version of FEAF was published in January 2013, meeting the criteria set forth by the Common Approach.  It underscores the importance of Strategic Planning and Strategic Goals as the source for driving business services, which consequentially provides the requirements for enabling technologies.  At the heart of it is the Consolidated Reference Model (CRM), which links 6 reference models and equips all departments with a shared language and framework to explain and evaluate investments.

The FEAF comprises of 6 interconnected Reference Models, linked through Consolidated Reference Model (CRM), each relating to a sub-architectural domain of the framework.

These Reference Models convey word-based abstractions of original architectural data and deliver a structure for relating significant elements of the FEA in a collective and uniform manner:

  1. Strategy Domain -> Performance Reference Model (PRM)
  2. Business Domain -> Business Reference Model (BRM)
  3. Data Domain -> Data Reference Model (DRM)
  4. Applications Domain -> Application Reference Model (ARM)
  5. Infrastructure Domain -> Infrastructure Reference Model (IRM)
  6. Security Domain -> Security Reference Model (SRM)

CRM is intended to permit inter-agency evaluation and detection of overlapping investments, disparities and prospects for cooperation within and across agencies.

By means of the collection of reference models a common nomenclature and system is cultivated for describing IT resources.  Making use of this standard framework and terminology, IT portfolios can be managed more suitably and taken advantage of throughout the Federal Government.

A brief description of the reference models is as follows:

Performance Reference Model (PRM)

PRM relates agency strategy, internal business factors, and investments, presenting a way to measure the influence of those investments on strategic outcomes.

Business Reference Model (BRM)

BRM depicts an organization through arrangement of common mission and support service segments rather than through vertical lines of control, thus encouraging cooperation within and across agencies.

Data Reference Model (DRM)

DRM assists in detection of existing data assets located in solitary storages and aids in comprehending the meaning of that data, ways of accessing it, and means for leveraging it for supporting performance outcomes.

Application Reference Model (ARM)

ARM classifies the standards and technologies involving systems and applications that support the delivery of service capabilities, allowing agencies to share and reuse common solutions and benefit from economies of scale.

The Infrastructure Reference Model (IRM)

IRM sorts the standards and technologies relating to network/cloud to aid and facilitate the provision of voice, data, video, and mobile service components and facilities.

The Security Reference Model (SRM)

SRM offers a mutual language and approach for deliberating on security and privacy in connection with Federal agencies’ business and performance goals.

Interested in learning more about Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) and its reference models?”  “You can download an editable PowerPoint on Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) Primer here and FEAF associated PowerPoint series presentations on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Mark Bridges

Mark Bridges is a Senior Director of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is your go-to resource for best practices in business management, covering management topics from Strategic Planning to Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation (view full list here). Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. Prior to Flevy, Mark worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.

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