Process Step 4: Define the Conceptual Solution Architecture    (3ZOD)

Step Description and Purpose    (3ZOE)

The Define the Conceptual Solution Architecture process step includes activities that help the architect define the conceptual solution architecture for the target state. Although this guidance is for segment architecture, a complete segment architecture should include a conceptual depiction of the target systems and services architecture. Hence, the term conceptual solution architecture defines the segment target systems and services, the supported business functions, and the relationships between them and the technology that supports them, including the technical and service components and their underlying standards. Target services may include business services, enterprise services, and other technical service components. The conceptual solution architecture also describes the segment boundaries defined by interfaces with external customers, systems, services, and organizations. As such, the conceptual solution architecture provides an integrated view of the combined systems, service, and technology architectures.    (3ZOF)

As illustrated in Figure 1, the conceptual solution architecture contains artifacts that identify the traceability from business function to supporting service components and the underlying technology components that enable each service component. As depicted in this figure, the business reference model (BRM) identifies the business functions and sub-functions. The BRM components are associated to common (cross-cutting) and mission (LoB) service components within the service component model (SCM) which defined the target service architecture. The SCM identifies which service components from the service reference model (SRM) support the segment architecture. The SRM service components can be traced to the supporting technical components (application and infrastructure) identified in the technology model (TM) which defines the target technology architecture for the segment. The TM components are specified consistent with the technical components identified within the agency enterprise architecture (EA) technical reference model (TRM).    (3ZOG)

As a general rule, the specification of technical and service components should, in principle, be vendor-agnostic within the conceptual solution architecture. The key exceptions to this rule are where existing as-is systems, standard commercial of the shelf (COTS) solutions, and solutions offered by SmartBUY and enterprise license agreements (ELAs) are to be included as part of the target state. This integrated view will greatly improve the hand-off to solution architects by providing a means for linking systems to services and their supporting technology components.    (3ZOH)    (3ZOK)

Figure 1: The conceptual solution architecture provides traceability from business to service / technology layers    (3ZOI)

This process step includes tasks related to information gathering about and assessment of the as-is segment systems and services in order to determine the business value and overall alignment of the as-is systems and services to the performance, business and information requirements developed in the prior process steps. Based on the analysis of the as-is systems and services, the requirements for the target conceptual solution architecture are defined so the architect can determine the target systems and services required to enable the segment’s performance, business, and data architectures. In defining the target state conceptual solution architecture, the architect is encouraged to select reusable service components, including cross-agency initiatives defined in the Federal Transition Framework (FTF).    (3ZOL)

Once the target conceptual solution architecture is defined, the dependencies, constraints, risks, and issues associated with the transition are analyzed to identify alternatives to be considered. This analysis results in a set of recommendations that will be carried forward into the subsequent process step for developing the final segment blueprint.    (3ZOM)

Note that suggested analytical techniques are included for activities within the methodology to better define what is core for a complete segment architecture in the form of descriptive (not prescriptive) guidance on how to accomplish the analysis. The suggested analytical techniques provide guidance as to what outputs are core for defining a complete segment architecture.    (3ZON)

Step Outcome    (3ZOO)

The outcome of this step is the conceptual solution architecture that supports the target performance, business and data architectures developed in the preceding steps, along with the advantages and disadvantages of alternative strategies for transitioning from the as-is state to the target state.    (3ZOP)

Step At-a-Glance    (3ZOQ)    (3ZOR)

Step References    (3ZOS)

OMB Memorandum M-06-22, Cost Savings Achieved Through E-Government and Line of Business Initiatives, Office of Management and Budget, August 8, 2006    (3ZOT)

Activity Details    (3ZOU)