Blending FEA into the enterprise

GCN Insider | Trends & technologies that affect the way government does IT

You know that Enterprise Architecture your agency prepared to appease the Office of Management and Budget? Well, you can put the Business Reference Model portion to use in your enterprise business systems, said James Melzer, senior information architect for SRA International Inc. of Fairfax, Va., during a presentation at the Gilbane Conference on Content Technologies in Washington.

As you know, the BRM sits at the top of the five FEA reference models, describing the agency's lines of business. Melzer found, in doing IT support work for the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program, that the agency's BRM could be used to facilitate interoperability between different systems and ease record retention scheduling.

For the Superfund work, the agency has a business process system to handle workflow, and a records management system. Although the two didn't originally interoperate, the BRM revealed the lines of commonality, Melzer noted. Nodes along the business process system generated documents, which, if tagged correctly, could be automatically routed to the central repository of the records management system.

'There is a systematic agreement between the records management side and the business process side,' he said. 'Where we have two copies [now], in the future we will have only one.'

BRM also helps archive records, he noted. 'For the most part, the schedules of [many] agencies will be set up around major business functions, and so they map fairly nicely to BRM categories,' Melzer said. For EPA, defining documents by the agency's BRM taxonomy means they don't have to do extra work picking the right retention schedule for each record, a task that takes time and leads to errors.

For more IT trends and analysis, visit the GCN.com Tech Blog at www.gcn.com/blogs/tech.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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