Using Enterprise Architecture to Transform Service Delivery: The U.S. Federal Government's Human Resources Line of Business

Using Enterprise Architecture to Transform Service Delivery: The U.S. Federal Government's Human Resources Line of Business

Timothy Biggert (IBM Global Business Services, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 33
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-068-4.ch014
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This chapter provides a case study on how the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has led the establishment of the Human Resources Line of Business (HR LOB). It explains how the HR LOB program has used enterprise architecture to drive transformation to a new Human Resources service delivery model across the United States Federal government. The authors propose that the common view and vocabulary that EA artifacts provide, along with the collaborative governance that took place to create the artifacts, has produced a solid business foundation for this extensive business transformation effort.
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Enterprise architecture synthesizes a business entity – and much of its complexity – into a single integrated set of structures that can be used as a basis for strategy and planning. “In a large modern enterprise, a rigorously defined framework is necessary to be able to capture a vision of the ‘entire system’ in all its dimensions and complexity. Enterprise architecture (EA) is a framework which is able to coordinate the many facets that make up the fundamental essence of an enterprise. It is the master plan which ‘acts as an integrating force’ between aspects of business planning” (Stevenson, 1995, para. 2).

The United States Office of Management and Budget has formulated an enterprise architecture strategy for the U.S. government that can help government agencies manage complexity and move toward innovation and transformation – informed and enabled by enterprise architecture. This chapter is about the U.S. Federal government’s transformation of service delivery for Human Resources using enterprise architecture and reinforced by collaborative governance.

The Human Resources Line of Business (HR LOB) is driving transformation of Federal Human Resources service delivery via enterprise architecture. The HR LOB enterprise architecture provides a common, government-wide view and vocabulary for the HR function – a view and vocabulary that provide a basis for common, government-wide solutions that agencies will implement to realize the vision and goals of the Federal government’s HR transformation.

Using broad-based collaboration as a fundamental governance principle, the HR Line of Business program at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management was able to achieve consensus on its enterprise architecture and use that EA to define shared services-based service delivery expectations for the future Federal HR operation. Under the leadership of the HR LOB program, hundreds of HR professionals representing three dozen agencies came together in dozens of work sessions over a four year period to define a government-wide HR enterprise architecture.

The results of this collaboration are presented in the pages that follow. This chapter is organized into the following sections:

  • BACKGROUND: Provides environmental and historical context for the U.S. Government’s electronic government initiatives and the events that led to the formation of the HR LOB program.

  • ENTERPRISE ARCHITECTURE: Describes how the HR LOB EA helped achieve the vision of standardization of HR processes across the Federal HR function.

  • GOVERNANCE: Explains how HR LOB used collaborative governance to develop an EA necessary to standardize and modernize HR services delivery.

  • TARGET REQUIREMENTS FOR SHARED SERVICE CENTERS: Describes how the HR LOB EA has been used to drive implementation – by compiling and developing the solution-level target requirements for shared service centers.

  • LESSONS LEARNED: Outlines critical lessons learned while developing an EA for the HR LOB.

  • FUTURE TRENDS AND RESEARCH: Provides insight into how EA can be used to help government calibrate how it delivers shared services to its customers.



Innovation in the use of technology is driving a revolution in business today, enabling the creation of new businesses and business structures. Homeowners can shop for refinance loans from their own homes. Businesses can integrate suppliers and customers into their own end-to-end business processes with seamless precision. Companies can outsource functions to other companies located on the other side of the planet.

Fueled by technology, the pace of change is in fact accelerating. According to McDavid (1999):

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