The Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) is an Enterprise Architecture framework designed to provide structure and guidance to U.S. federal agencies.
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When approaching a new objective, enterprise architects will look for the most efficient ways to align an organization's business and technology resources to optimize or rework processes. There are several frameworks that help guide architects through the EA process. Architects will either use one of these to facilitate their plan or a combination of two or three.
FEAF is the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework developed by the Federal Government of the United States and is the industry standard framework for government enterprise architecture frameworks. This framework guides the integration of strategic, business, and technology management architecture processes. A central benefit of the FEAF framework is that it provides a common approach to IT acquisition within all U.S. federal agencies.
Architects wanting to add FEAF to their enterprise toolkit can complete the Federal Enterprise Architecture Certification. The FEAF certification gives enterprise architects a basic understanding of the methodology using real-world challenges the Federal Government is facing.
FEAF differs from other EA frameworks in a number of ways. Firstly, it’s a specialized framework designed specifically for U.S. federal agencies, unlike Zachman and TOGAF which can be implemented in any commercial enterprise setting.
FEAF is designed to work within a bureaucratic environment, to help enterprise architects be more efficient while promoting collaboration and highlighting cost-saving opportunities.
FEAF can be combined with any of the more popular and general enterprise architecture frameworks. It simply depends on the architect and which methodology they feel will most effectively meet the needs of the organization.
There are six domains of enterprise architecture for government agencies; these are Performance Reference Model (PRM), Business Reference Model (BRM), Data Reference Model (DRM), Application Reference Model (ARM), Infrastructure Reference Model (IRM), and Security Reference Model (SRM) which will be discussed in more detail further down.
The advantages of the FEAF framework are numerous, but there are four key benefits:
This is the ability of two or more systems or entities to share information accurately. Interoperability helps assist the enterprise in its evaluation of the overall process and deliver cross-agency services efficiently.
The agility provided by FEAF assists in an enterprise's ability to act quickly to any unpredictable changes. Over time, changes in politics, processes, and regulation will affect the systems already in place, which means it’s important for federal agencies to have the flexibility to adapt to new requirements and provide timely responses.
The integration combines subsections to help various departments make sure functions are compatible and can work together, avoiding any over expenditure and time-wasting. This area of FEAF offers a method to enable consistency between systems.
FEAF’s reusability means that components can be applied and used across multiple government systems, meaning that different authorities can benefit from the same common parts across the E-government system.
The Collaborative Planning Methodology (CMP) is the full lifecycle of planning and implementation at the heart of FEAF’s methodology and working process. It is designed to be used at all levels of Federal Enterprise Architecture. These are International, National, Federal, Sector, Agency, Segment, System, and Application.
The CMP consists of two main phases–organize and plan, and implement and measure–further split into five key sections.
When approaching the FEAF methodology, the purpose, planner’s role and outcome help define what steps need to be taken.
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The Consolidated Reference Model (CRM) differs from the CMP by equipping the Federal agencies with a common language to describe and analyze investments. Rather than the steps outlined above, version 2 uses interrelated “reference models” to facilitate a common and consistent framework of describing important elements across federal agency operations.
Using this FEAF reference model, IT projects can be better managed and leveraged, facilitating cross-agency analysis and collaboration.
This framework comprises the six reference models that have been expanded from the five developed in version one.
|PRM - will provide metrics for measuring:||Business performance||Data information management performance||Application performance||Infrastructure performance||Security performance|
|BRM - will provide metrics for measuring:||Outlines the relationships between IT strategy and business functions||Identifies duplicates and gaps in data information||Identifies opportunities for reuse and collaboration & improve application management||Finds opportunities for consolidation and outline technology needs||Describes security business processes|
|DRM||Outlines the relationships between IT strategy and business functions||Uses data sharing to improve business processes and decision making||Establishes relationships between systems through relationships among data elements||Identifies technical infrastructure requirements||Provides input for security categorization and privacy analysis|
|ARM||Improves strategic performance through application reuse and sharing||Improves business processes and identifies new business capabilities||Outlines data storage needs and exchange requirements||Identifies technical infrastructure requirements||Provides specific asset inventory|
|IRM||Improve strategy performance through identifying related infrastructure||Finds opportunity to improve business process and new business capabilities||Identify data storage requirements||Identifies tech constraints and outlines opportunities for upgrades and innovation||Provides specific asset inventory|
|SRM||Identifies the risk for strategy performance and implementation||Informs businesses on policies and regulations which affect security||Outlines encryption needed for information storage and processing||Identify privacy considerations||Determines cross-domain requirements|
Most Enterprise Architects will already be familiar with the TOGAF framework due to its popularity in the practice, but FEAF contains guidance analogous that accompany TOGAF’s Foundation Architecture, viewpoints, and views.
While the FEAF is oriented toward enterprise architecture, TOGAF is more oriented toward IT architecture. This means there are benefits of having insights into both frameworks and methodologies.
Figure 1: FEAF Matrix (Source: TOGAF)
The key difference between TOGAF vs FEAF is that the FEAF is designed to provide guidance to federal agencies for structuring their enterprise architecture. The way the FEAF matrix is structured also does not directly map to the TOGAF structure but corresponds more to the Zachman Framework.
That said, three of the four architecture domains covered by TOGAF also correspond directly to the columns of the FEAF matrix (see above).
The Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) is an enterprise architecture methodology designed to guide the integration of strategic, business, and technology management architecture processes across all U.S. Federal agencies.
Alongside TOGAF and the Zachman Framework, a deep understanding of all important frameworks, as well as selecting the right EA tool capabilities, is hugely beneficial for architects looking to better meet an organization's EA requirements and goals.
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Who uses FEAF?
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What is the difference between FEAF and TOGAF?