The USDA's Enterprise Architecture program strategically partners with all agencies to provide value to USDA's mission areas, business processes, and Information Technology (IT) capabilities.
The USDA Enterprise Architecture (EA) helps make sure information technology investments align with the mission and goals of the Department. It defines how information and technology should support USDA’s strategic goals and benefit the business.
The intent of the USDA Enterprise Architecture is to help make the information technology (IT) expenditures more effectively serve the mission and goals of the organization. Enterprise architecture defines how information and technology support USDA’s strategic planning to benefit our business. There are many ways to organize the information and diagrams that make up the architecture.
Enterprise Architecture's Benefits
A well-documented, well-understood enterprise architecture enables the organization to respond quickly to changes in the environment in which the organization operates. It serves as a ready reference that enables the organization to assess the impact of the changes on each of the enterprise architecture components. It also ensures the components continue to operate smoothly through the changes.
An Analogy to City Planning
You can relate enterprise architecture to the more widely understood concept of city planning. In city planning, zones are established for very specific purposes. The buildings that are built in these zones are constructed to specifications to meet those purposes.
For example, a hospital is built to different specifications than a house or office building. Additionally, to ensure uniformity of the city and to ensure roads link to each other and pipes attach to each other without a problem, city planners establish specific guidelines on building materials and interface specifications.
In the case of enterprise architecture, the enterprise is analogous to the city. The organization structure represents the zones established to execute the enterprise's core mission. Buildings are analogous to applications and systems. Likewise, technical elements, such as infrastructure hardware, design specifications, and development languages, are analogous to building materials and interface specifications and are used to implement the applications and systems.
The following table depicts these analogous relationships:
|City Plan is to...||as enterprise architecture is to...|
|1. zones||1. organization structure|
|2. buildings||2. applications and systems|
|3. building materials and interface specifications||3. infrastructure hardware, design specifications, and development languages|
Enterprise Architecture Areas
USDA Enterprise Architecture covers these areas:
Enterprise Architecture Principles—USDA values that guide IT decision-making and activities and form the foundation for IT architecture, standards, and policy development.
Performance Architecture—Metrics, measures, and documents that describe USDA's most important work activities and assets.
Business Architecture—Models and documents that describe USDA's work activities and assets.
Data Architecture—Models and documents that describe USDA's data activities, including information and links to Data.gov and Open.gov
Applications Architecture—A series of models that describe and govern USDA's key information assets and applications and their interoperability.
Technology Architecture—Current and future technical infrastructure, including hardware and software, that supports USDA information systems.
Security Architecture—Identifies security techniques and tools to be included in USDA applications and systems.
Enterprise Architecture Contacts
Rachel R. Payne
Information Security Architect