Two of the major goals of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) are information sharing and the improved effectiveness of federal IT investments. Achieving these goals requires the ability to identify and use common data across the federal government. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has developed the Data Reference Model (DRM) to assist in the identification and use of common data. The DRM’s primary purpose is to promote the common identification, use, and appropriate sharing of data/information across the federal government.    (2IVA)

To achieve this purpose, the DRM describes three basic standardization areas:    (2IVB)

Categorization of data    (2IVC)

Exchange of data    (2IVD)

Structure of data    (2IVE)

Information sharing can be enabled through the common categorization and structure of data. By understanding the business context of data, DRM users will be able to communicate more accurately about the content and purpose of the data they require. This improved communication on the content and purpose of data will improve the ability to share information throughout the federal government. Exhibit A illustrates the basic areas of the DRM.    (OI)

Exhibit A: DRM Structure    (2IVF)

Categorization of Data: The DRM establishes an approach to the categorization of data through the use of a concept called Business Context. The business context represents the general business purpose of the data. The business context uses the FEA Business Reference Model (BRM) as its categorization taxonomy.    (2IVG)

Exchange of Data: The exchange of data is enabled by the DRM’s standard message structure, called the Information Exchange Package. The information exchange package represents an actual set of data that is requested or produced from one unit of work to another. The information exchange package makes use of the DRM’s ability to both categorize and structure data.    (2IVH)

Structure of Data: To provide a logical approach to the structure of data, the DRM uses a concept called the Data Element. The data element represents information about a particular thing, and can be presented in many formats. The data element is aligned with the business context, so that users of an agency’s data understand the data’s purpose and context. The data element is adapted from the ISO/IEC 11179 standard.    (2IVI)

Potential Outcomes of the DRM:    (2J07)

The DRM’s primary purpose is to promote the common identification, use, and appropriate sharing of data/information across the federal government.    (2IVJ)

Effective use of the DRM’s approach may facilitate several outcomes, including:    (2IVK)

• Improvement of federal agencies’ ability to share information    (2IVL)

• Improvement of the effectiveness of federal IT investments    (2IVM)

Information sharing is improved through the use of an integrated DRM. In order to successfully share information, users must fully understand the context or business purpose of the information that is needed or produced. Using the DRM’s business context facilitates an agency’s ability to categorize its data in a common way. Once the categorization of the information is understood, agencies can use the DRM’s structure to consistently describe the actual data element. In this way, the DRM’s information exchange package uses the common approach to the categorization and structure of data to facilitate the sharing of information.    (2IVN)

Adopting the DRM’s approach to the categorization, structure, and exchange of data promotes the effectiveness of agency IT investments. Agencies that define and categorize their data using a common approach can identify IT applications that meet user requirements prior to proposing new IT investments. Agencies that exchange their data in a common structure increase the likelihood that other agencies can re-use IT investments as shared services within their own architectures.    (2IVO)

In addition, use of the DRM supports legislative requirements such as the Information Quality Act (IQA) See Footnote 1. The IQA, for example, establishes guidelines that are focused on the management and quality of data generated by federal agencies. Effective data management requires that agencies fully understand the use and purpose of the data they are managing. Furthermore, agencies can only manage the quality of their data if they can validate that its content and structure are accurate. Exhibit B illustrates several additional technical and business outcomes.    (2IVP)

Exhibit B: Outcomes of the DRM    (2IVQ)

Use of this Document    (2J05)

Volume I of the DRM (this document) establishes a high-level overview of what the DRM is in the context of its ability to support a common approach to the categorization, exchange, and structure of data. The following table illustrates the content of each section within Volume I of the DRM and the type of user to which it applies.    (2IVR)

/VolumeI_Guide    (2J09)

DRM Roadmap    (2J0B)

This is the first of four volumes of the DRM. Future volumes of the DRM will focus on providing users with more details regarding the categorization, exchange, and standardization of data. OMB will also release a complementary Data Management Strategy. This strategy document results from collaboration between the CIO Council and the FEA PMO. It will address the governance and management of data.    (2J0C)

The following table is a guide to the use of future volumes of the DRM. The table illustrates which volumes that users of the DRM will find most applicable. Detailed information regarding each volume is contained within Section 5 of this document.    (2IVU)

/RoadmapGuide    (2IVV)

In addition to collaborating with the CIO Council, OMB will continue to develop the DRM through a series of ongoing pilots with various federal agencies and programs. Pilots represent existing government programs that will contribute to the development and refinement of future volumes of the DRM.    (2IVW)

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Comments    (2JQX)