The VA EA comprises the strategic, business, data and information, systems and applications, network and infrastructure, and security information used by decision-makers within the Department. This information is organized in the architecture by “domains” that, as notionally illustrated here, span six areas — from strategic to technical and tactical. Although the Strategic Domain appears to be relatively small compared to the other domains, it drives all business activities and IT-enabled processes, systems, and their infrastructures. In this depiction, the Security Domain appears as the largest of the Domains, because it is foundational, and security requirements are embedded in all levels.
VA is a large and complex organization. Although understanding the content of each EA Domain is important, the real benefit of using enterprise architecture is to gain insight into the complex relationships between the domains and information in them. For example if one can understand what combination of operational processes, activities, and measurable outputs are driving strategic outcomes, one can use that information to evaluate which strategies and implementation plans are effective, and which are not.
The relationships between the domains’ major elements (i.e., the products and tools the Domain contains) are shown in the VA EA Conceptual Metamodel below. This model provides a map that shows the connection points between various elements in the EA and provides traceability in every direction. The ability to trace high level outcomes to operational activities, frequently referred to as “line-of-sight” traceability, informs both operational and strategic decisions.