U.S. Department of Commerce
Office of the Chief Information Officer
Enterprise Architecture Policy
What is an Enterprise Architecture about?
Who does this policy and guidance apply to?
Why should you do an Enterprise Architecture?
How do you do an Enterprise Architecture?
When must an Enterprise Architecture be submitted?
Can I see examples of Enterprise Architecture?
Who can answer questions about Enterprise Architecture?
This document provides you with policy and guidance information related to the development, use, and maintenance of Enterprise Architectures. Briefly stated, an Enterprise Architecture is a blueprint that is developed, implemented, maintained, and used to explain and guide how an organization's information technology and information management elements work together to efficiently accomplish the mission of the organization.
All operating units of the Department of Commerce and the Office of the Secretary are required to develop and maintain an Enterprise Architecture. All employees acquiring IT resources, developing software, developing budget requests for IT resources, etc., need to be aware of their operating unit's Enterprise Architecture, and will find guidance in this document for understanding and developing Enterprise Architectures.
All operating units are required to have an Enterprise Architecture in place to cover all of their organizations and operations. For the specific criteria for meeting this requirements, see Evaluation Criteria for Meeting the Department of Commerce Information Technology Architecture Requirements. Architectures are also required by the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 and OMB Circular A-130.
The reason the requirements were established is the large number of possible benefits an Enterprise Architecture can bring. The development and use of an Enterprise Architecture can help an organization to:
• Ensure that its business needs drive IT plans and that the latter are focused on achieving those business needs;
• Develop a corporate vision of where the organization needs to or wants to go with IT in the future, and to help ensure that IT activities conform to this vision;
• Identify and distribute certain principles that should guide IT behavior within the organization;
• Analyze its current IT resources and their use, and to identify areas where changes could lead to cost savings;
• Change IT systems to meet rapidly evolving business needs, legislative requirements, etc. more quickly;
• Ensure that parts of the IT structure work together efficiently and effectively;
• Help identify ways in which IT may enable the business processes to be done more efficiently; and
• Better support budget requests for IT resources by being able to show how proposed IT spending is directly related to the accomplishment of program goals (and OMB requires that proposed IT actions in budget initiatives be consistent with the agency's architecture).
You can find additional descriptions of these benefits in the document Eight Potential Benefits of Having an IT Architecture.
The Department has issued guidance on doing an Enterprise Architecture and has established a Web site that contains other information that may help explain the process. To see them, you can select an option below:
Operating units are required to submit their Enterprise Architecture to the Chief Information Officer of the Department of Commerce annually per the call memorandum. Strategic IT Plans and Operational IT Plans are expected to reflect and discuss Architectural activities and plans.
You can find examples of Enterprise Architectures and links to other Architecture-related sites at the Enterprise Architecture Home Page.
You can contact Tom Pennington at (202) 482-5899 or email@example.com.
Supersedes policy dated: None
Origination date: November 30, 2000
Approved by: Roger Baker, Chief Information Officer, February 10, 2004
Revision status: Updated December 15, 2006
- Questions regarding this section may be directed to the IT Policy, Guidance & Legislation Administrator