VA EA Data and Information Domain
Data is only as valuable as the business outcomes it makes possible, even though the data itself is usually not the only factor responsible for those outcomes. The way data is managed with regard to its visibility, accessibility, usefulness, security, and governance is what turns simple data and information into an immeasurably valuable VA asset.
The Data and Information Domain describes and categorizes VA’s business-focused data and facilitates discovery and exchange of information across VA organizational boundaries. It is critical to VA’s ability to harmonize, standardize, protect, share, and store information. Information about VA data and information is captured in the VA Enterprise Architecture Repository (VEAR), which is organized as illustrated in the diagram below: Conceptual Metamodel – Data and Information Domain View. As shown in the diagram, the repository houses VA data and other information resources, and organizes basic information about these resources. These groupings and classifications evolve into operations metadata, which can make it easier to find and work with data.
VEAR Data & Information Domain — Contains the VA-recognized Subject Areas that group the data used to conduct VA business. Each Subject Area also has a status to indicate where its location in the Data Governance Council (DGC) development cycle: Approved, Under Development, or Future Consideration. The DGC-approved Subject Areas contain ISO 11179-compliant Conceptual Data Models (CDMs), Logical Data Models (LDMs), and associated data dictionary reports. Links to the other VEAR domains (e.g., Business, Systems & Applications) are also included.
Conceptual Metamodel – Data and Information Domain View
The current DGC approved Subject Areas are:
- Access — Access is being able to provide an individual the ability to perform a specific task on a protected resource. Access data supports the management, oversight, and control of enterprise trusted identities and their authoritative credentials to VA’s protected resources. The VA’s protected resources include enterprise data, electronic files, computer systems, and physical resources (buildings, floors, data centers).
- Contracts for Goods and Services — A category of data required to acquire and sustain purchased or leased goods and services using appropriated funds.
- Data Governance Council — A library of Policies and Procedure that provide background information, roles, responsibilities, and Standard Operating Procedures for VA Data Governance Initiative.
- Facility Space — A place designated for the performance of one or more specific VA services, activities, or operational functions. This may include virtual environments.
- Financial Management — A category of data used to manage measure, operate, and predict the effectiveness and efficiency of an entity’s financial activities in relation to its objectives. Specific functions include, but are not limited to, supporting managing accounting, managing payments, managing collections and receivables, performing cost accounting and performance, debt collection, and administering internal controls, and reporting financial information.
- Health Professions Trainee — An individual appointed to a temporary position in one or more Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities performing clinical or research training experience to satisfy program or degree requirements. Trainee academic levels include undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students, interns, residents, fellows, and VA advanced fellows; and pre- and post-doctoral fellows. NOTE: Includes: Paid and without compensation. See VHA Directive 1400.09, Education of Physicians and Dentists; VHA Handbook 1400.08, Education of Associated Health Professions; and VHA Handbook 1400.07, Education of Advanced Fellows VA Unique Identifier: ICN Accounting Classification.
- Manpower — A category of data supporting the management, oversight, and control of position requirements to accomplish the demands of the mission.
- Person Identity — A category of data describing a human being or a unique individual. Definition Pedigree: FEA DRM D04.007.710 .
- Real Property — A category of data about inventories of real property, including mobile units, fixed structures, and buildings utilized by organizational resources on behalf of agency interests. The data encompasses the full set of information required for Federal Real Property Profile (FRPP) reporting to GSA.
- Supply Chain — A category of data that supports supply chain management functions from sourcing through inventory management and movement through the VA distribution process, in accordance with applicable policies and programs. This includes data for all activities that maintain inventory records, inventory transaction items, supplier information, and data that enables the implementation of an effective logistics and supply chain management program across the VA.
- Veteran (Past, Present, or Potentially Future) — An individual who had or is currently serving in one of the seven uniformed services and therefore potentially eligible for or currently using VA benefits and services. This includes the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Public Health Service and Commissioned Officer Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as members of the Reserve and National Guard components, World War II Merchant Mariners, and certain members of the Philippine Armed Forces. Definition Source: USC Title 38 VA Unique Identifier: ICN DoD Unique Identifier: DOD DEERS: EDI P
- VA Employee — An individual appointed or elected to a position in or under the executive branch of the U.S. Government and who occupies a position in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Definition Source: Adapted from OPM definition of employee VA Unique Identifier: ICN Employee Unique Identifier: HRSMART: EMPLID Logical Access Unique Identifier: ICAM: SECID VBA Unique Identifier: VBA: PID.
- Veterans Benefits and Services — A category of data that encapsulate all benefits and services provided by VA as codified in Title 38 USC.
Subject Areas currently under development or on hold are:
- Correspondence (On Hold) — Data describing the form of written communication sent or received in the course of affairs intended to deliver timely information.
- Education — A category of data involving specialized training and professional learning resources and systems intended to help VA employees, contractors, and volunteers improve their professional knowledge, competencies, skills, and overall effectiveness.
- Geolocation — A category of data that supports VA Geospatial Services and is associated with planning, organizing, and executing the design, development, collection, maintenance, sustainment and analysis of geospatial information and systems. Examples are VA cemeteries, VA medical facilities, VA services provider facilities.
- Information Technology Management — A category of data involving information and technology resources and systems required to support or provide a service. Some examples are Networks and Telecommunications, Platforms and Storage, and IT Systems Management.
- Programming (On Hold) —A category of data concerning preparing and implementing plans that determine when, where, and how VA benefits and services are provided.
- Volunteer (On Hold) — Individuals who require logical access to VA information systems and/or physical access to VA facilities to perform their jobs and who do not fall under the category of VA employee or contractor. This includes business partner representatives as defined in VA Directive 6609, Mailing of Sensitive Private Information. Definition: Source(s): VA Directives 0735 and 6510 VA Unique Identifier: ICN Logical Access Unique Identifier: ICAM: SECID
The Data and Information Domain is related closely to the Business, Systems and Applications, and Security Domains through the VA Business Reference Model (VA BRM), Business Processes, Laws, Regulations, Policies, & Directives, VA Systems Inventory (VASI), and Security standards. These relationships:
- Describe the information that must be shared within VA’s mission-specific processes and general support services
- Enable identification of redundant or duplicative data sources, thus supporting development and implementation of “single sources of truth” for Veteran data
- Provide the processes and tools to enable appropriate governance over VA data assets
- Provide data standards to enable improved functional integration and system interoperability
- Provide the foundation to make Veteran data visible, accessible, available, understandable, trusted, and secure across VA
When the metamodel and its relationships are fully developed, they will assist in the establishment of authoritative data sources, incorporation of effective enterprise data management practices, and reveal areas where cost savings can be realized and investments better targeted. The result will be a significantly improved user experience at lower cost to VA.
The data architecture evolves along with the other domains of the VA EA, including being extended to provide better support to VA operations. It complements the systems and applications architecture (i.e. VASI) by integrating more information about the actual databases currently in use within the Department. This information, when combined with information from the VASI, VA BRM, Configuration Management Database, and other strategic and business data sets, forms a valuable asset that supports major VA decision processes at all levels – from strategic planning through the complete solution development lifecycle.
Additionally, with the oversight of the Data Governance Council (DGC), DGC-appointed Data Stewards are building out the VA data architecture by subject area. The DGC serves as the principal entity which acts on the Secretary’s behalf with respect to VA corporate data governance. It is the final authority on all VA directives, policies, and standards involved in the creation, collection, and dissemination of authoritative data. The Data Steward is a business owner and/or recognized subject matter expert assigned accountability for the data specifications and data quality of the Subject Area. Business Data Stewards are experts in the way data is used in the performance of VA’s mission. The development of the VA data architecture by subject areas, governed by the DGC, provides a consistent method of cataloging the data contained within a wide spectrum of systems and facilitates efficient and authoritative decision-making about data.
Key Enterprise Design Patterns Currently Available