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NIH’s enterprise architecture program is only one instance of a growing number of enterprise architecture initiatives throughout the Federal Government. To facilitate efforts to transform the Federal Government into a government that is citizen-centered, results-oriented, and market-based, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is developing the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA), a business-based framework for government-wide improvement.

The FEA framework divides the architecture into five primary areas: performance, business, services, data, and technical architecture sectors. It is being constructed through a collection of interrelated “reference models” designed to facilitate cross-agency analysis and the identification of duplicative investments, gaps, and opportunities for collaboration within and across Federal agencies.

FEA Framework
SOURCE: Whitehouse (

The following matrix aligns the NIH Enterprise Architecture Framework with the FEA framework reference models.

Reference Model NIH Business Architecture NIH Information Architecture NIH Technology Architecture


Performance Reference Model (PRM)

The Performance Reference Model (PRM), which aligns with the NIH Business Architecture, is a standardized framework to measure the performance of major IT investments and their contribution to program performance. The objectives for the PRM are:

  • Produce enhanced performance information to improve strategic and daily decision-making
  • Improve the alignment — and better articulate the contribution of — inputs to outputs and outcomes, thereby creating a clear “line of sight” to desired results
  • Identify performance improvement opportunities that span traditional organizational structures and boundaries.


Business Reference Model (BRM)

The Business Reference Model (BRM), which aligns with the NIH Business Architecture, is a function-driven framework for describing the business operations of the Federal Government independent of the agencies that perform them. The BRM uses a function-driven approach in which “Lines of Business” and “Sub-functions” that comprise the BRM depart from previous models of the Federal government that used stove-piped, agency-oriented frameworks. The BRM is the first layer of the FEA and is the main viewpoint used for the analysis of data, service components, and technology.

Service Component Reference Model (SRM)

The Service Component Reference Model (SRM), which aligns with the NIH Information Architecture, is a business and performance-driven, functional framework that classifies service components with respect to how they support business and performance objectives. The Federal government intends to use the SRM to discover government-wide business and application service components in IT investments and assets. The SRM is structured across horizontal and vertical service domains that, independent of the business functions, can provide a leverage-able foundation to support the reuse of applications, application capabilities, components, and business services.

Data Reference Model (DRM)

The Data Reference Model (DRM), which aligns with the NIH Information Architecture, describes the data and information that support government program and business line operations. This model enables agencies to describe the types of interaction and exchanges that occur between the Federal Government and citizens.

Technical Reference Model (TRM)

The Technical Reference Model (TRM), which aligns with the NIH Technology Architecture, is a component-driven, technical framework used to categorize the standards, specifications, and technologies that support and enable the delivery of service components and capabilities. It provides a foundation to categorize the technology components used to support the construction, delivery, and exchange of business and application components (Service Components).

Last Updated: November 18, 2011