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The NIH Business System (NBS) mission is to provide integrated enterprise business solutions for NIH. It supports accounting, financial and transactional management of funds within NIH and is the system of record for NIH financial transactions. It complies with applicable federal financial management system requirements and is the business engine that supports the 27 Institutes and Centers within NIH. It provides capabilities in the areas of Budget, Payables, Travel, General Ledger, Contract, Supply, Acquisition and Property.

NBS started its Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) implementation in 2007. The program took a holistic approach for the integration given the enterprise-nature of the application and followed key NIH Enterprise Architecture (EA) Principles and SOA Design Principles. Since the inception of SOA at NIH, NBS has implemented several business critical services to automate key business processes within NIH.


NBS implemented several services to support the integration with GovTrip, a third party system that performs Travel arrangements, authorizations and voucher processing across the Federal government. NBS implemented web services that enabled GovTrip to perform several key functions such as Lookups, Funds Check, Purchase Order creation and modification, Travel Voucher creation and modifications etc. that are required to support NIH related travel business processes. The services were designed based on the SOA Design Principles published by the NIH Enterprise Architecture Office and were implemented as reusable services. The design principles of Loose Coupling, Abstraction, Reusability and Standardized Service Contract were applied towards the service design to ensure the reusability and agility of the implemented services.

While GovTrip as a system provided the required process to manage travel, NIH also had specific travel requirements for patients that could not be met by GovTrip. In order to support the unique requirements for patient travel, NBS needed to implement a new Patient Travel Management (PTM) system.


As a result of applying the SOA design principles while implementing the various business services, NBS were able to implement the new Patient Travel Management System within a very short span by reusing those services. The use of SOA design principles enabled NBS to design reusable services that are generic enough to supports multiple business processes and not just for GovTrip. It helped to replace the traditional point to point interface approach and provided a robust framework to build reusable services to support multiple business processes and ensured NIH achieved the returns on the SOA investment.

Realization of SOA Benefits

Realized benefits of the SOA implementation include:

  • Reduced Time to Implement new business processes. The PTM project was completed within 12 weeks from requirements to design and development to NBS integrations.
  • Decreased Development Costs as most of the services were reused.
  • Projected PTM Savings (cost avoidance) over GovTrip solution: about $2.18M over five years.
  • Increased Quality: 99% first time accurate transaction processing.
  • Enhanced SOA Framework for Further Reuse: NBS Financial Services and Lookup Services can be re-used by future projects to support other financial business processes.
  • Increased Business Agility and Performance: Modularity makes it flexible to accommodate changing business requirements

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Last Updated: August 07, 2012