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The NIH Enterprise Architecture offers several key benefits to the enterprise. These desired benefits and Federal regulations and legislation drive the development of the enterprise architecture program. The six most important benefits include:

    1. Links information technology (IT) to the mission of NIH

    2. Improves interoperability and integration

    3. Enables agility

    4. Reduces costs

    5. Improves security

    6. Reduces technical risk

More detail for each of these benefits follows.

1. Links information technology (IT) to the mission of NIH

As a comprehensive framework the NIH Enterprise Architecture identifies how IT assets directly enable NIH’s business processes and how those processes execute NIH’s mission. IT assets are reflected in the Information Architecture. Business processes and the NIH mission are reflected in the Business Architecture.

2. Improves interoperability and integration

By defining standards and specifications for how NIH systems will “talk to each other”, the job of integrating multiple systems becomes easier. This leads to other benefits such as:

  • making accurate information available whenever and wherever needed;
  • reducing the time required to implement systems;
  • decreasing the cost of implementing systems (primarily lower labor costs – you don't have to redefine interface standards with each implementation); and
  • increasing the likelihood of systems interoperating correctly the first time.

3. Enables agility

When we need to quickly respond to some sort of change in the environment we will have a ready reference that tells us what impact that change will have on each of the components within the NIH Enterprise Architecture, and how to ensure the components continue to operate smoothly through change management. The NIH Enterprise Architecture also enables faster design of new systems and extensions to existing systems by pre-defining ground rules and standards. As we migrate to a service orientation, user applications will increasingly be delivered as a composition of reused services allowing faster adaptation to new business requirements.

4. Reduces costs

Economies of scale in purchasing, reduced training requirements, fewer support staff and simpler upgrades are all examples of cost reductions offered through enterprise architecture. It reduces support costs by establishing a less complex environment (due to technical homogeneity) which is easier to support and results in faster repairs.

5. Improves security

Through the development of security standards with which all NIH systems comply, the risk of intrusion, loss (tangible and intangible), and system downtime are all reduced.

6. Reduces technical risk

The NIH Enterprise Architecture can reflect a technology infrastructure that is based on industry standard solutions. Doing so increases the availability of support services. It also ensures NIH maintains a pace of technology currency that is consistent with its business context and risk profile.

Last Updated: November 18, 2011