Business Reference Model


Definition/Description (What) – the Business Reference Model (BRM) provides planning and evaluation practices to document existing geospatial capabilities and identify requirements for new system investment alignment.

Purpose/Function (Why) – enables individual business investments, through collaborative governance and planning structure, to document and compare capabilities and requirements in the areas of infrastructure, data, applications, and services as a means to share investments and avoid redundant cost.

It uses the established governance structure to base-line, align, transition, and mature their geospatial investment across the enterprise. The section describes how to:

  • Define mission/business needs in terms of geospatial functional/operational requirements.
  • Establish a process for geospatial system investment base lining and comparison by analyzing capabilities and functionality, and identifying opportunities for reuse.

Stakeholder Performance Guide (Who & How)

  • Executive Leadership and Program Managers responsible for policy setting and compliance, strategic program direction, resource planning and approval (e.g., fiscal and human)
  • Solution Architects for validating feasibility of technical approach and establishing target performance metrics

Business Reference Model(s) Approach

The GIRA BRM will focus upon a practical approach to framing the business and functional capabilities and requirements of the geospatial enterprise, based upon the Governance Structure. The geospatial BRM will leverage The Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture[1] and its architecture project planning method, the Collaborative Planning Methodology[2], by highlighting its process for identifying and documenting geospatial investments and requirements across the enterprise. This approach is a prerequisite to allow for system interoperability. Without this understanding and governance structure to facilitate its collection, compilation, and assessment, an enterprise cannot effectively or efficiently leverage or reuse investments.



The Geospatial Profile of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA), Version 2.0[3] (e.g., GeoProfile 2.0) is a resource for determining how and where geospatial capabilities fit into enterprise architectures. The GeoProfile 2.0 provides a methodology for geo-enabling business processes in which a series of steps can be used as a means to identify business areas that could benefit from geospatial capabilities and procure the resources to enable the change. To geo-enable a business process, architects and executives focus on identifying location-based methods for mission functions and analyzing the most cost-effective combination of possible approaches.

Geospatial Profile of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA), Version 2.0[4] defines a geo-enabled organization, as “one that deploys the staff and technological infrastructure necessary to provide enterprise geospatial data, services, and technological support to business processes across an organization, while also promoting economies of scale and reuse. This includes supporting agency-wide access to geospatial data and services for multiple business processes and deploying mechanisms for external partners to access the agency geospatial assets.”

Successful geo-enabled organizations have a governance structure in which senior management are engaged in integrating geospatial approaches and practices into the business architecture. A structured and active governance practice at a strategic level enhances optimization of investments by aligning them with mission objectives and business strategy.


[1] Office of Management and Budget, The Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture, May 2, 2012.

[2] The Collaborative Planning Methodology, June 2012, Office of Management and Budget.

[3] Geospatial Profile of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA), Version 2.0, March 06, 2009. Available at

[4] Ibid.

Operational Requirements Documentation

At its core, an architecture framework begins with the understanding that technology investments and development should be planned – and that the mission or business owner, not the technology providers, should determine what is needed (e.g., requirements). The Collaborative Planning Methodology (CPM), (Step 1: Identify and Validate) and the Enterprise Roadmap (II. Summary of Current Architecture) documents existing and planned capabilities and requirements.

An Operational Requirements Document (ORD) is a method in which to document technology, data and services capabilities, and requirements that provide the input for how investments are leveraged/aligned, purchased or built, and the performance indicators are defined. The capabilities and requirements, as defined by the mission and user community, are documented and prioritized and form the basis of the As-Is baseline and To-Be desired environment. To assist in the identification of new or existing business processes within an organization, which requires or could benefit from geo-enabling, the Geospatial Profile v2.0[1] provides a 3-stage process to help identify, assess, and select an investment as well as includes an Appendix (Approaches for Geo-Enabling Lines of Business) that would assist Use Case development to identify geospatial aspects of business/mission activities.

The ORD is a dynamic document, and as new requirements are identified, they are maintained and contribute to future capability development within the CPM lifecycle. An ORD should consider the following:

  1. Who should perform the User Requirements Analysis (URA)?
  2. Identification and definition of User Levels of capability/need
    1. View
    2. Analysis
    3. Advanced Analysis
  3. Definition of required (mission driven) products or services
  4. Evaluation of work flow and data inputs/outputs
  5. Investment Identification and Comparison
  6. Baseline Assessment and Comparison Matrix for technology, data, applications, and services

The Segment Architecture Analysis of the Geospatial Platform[2] provides Geospatial Use Cases to help facilitate the identification of geospatial business functions and requirements in a step-wise manner. Each use case describes a series of actions taking place, the actors involved, the data being exchanged, and the systems, applications, technology and standards being leveraged with an As-Is and Target Analysis including Gaps. Use cases include:

  • Acquire or Create Geospatial Information.
  • Store and Manage Geospatial Assets.
  • Use Geospatial Information to Support Business Driven Applications.
  • Process Geospatial Information to Maintain or Update Resources.
  • Find Geospatial Information or Services.
  • Publish or Disseminate Geospatial Resources.

One of the most important elements of the ORD, as input to the CPM, will be the development of the Baseline Assessment or Asset Inventory. This forms the basis of the investment comparisons and allows a level-set understanding of the capabilities and requirements for the geospatial enterprise.


[1] Geospatial Profile of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA), Version 2.0, March 06, 2009.

[2] Segment Architecture Analysis of the Geospatial Platform, Version 1.0, December 21, 2010. Federal Geographic Data Committee, in support of the Federal Chief Information Officers Council. Available at

Geospatial Baseline Assessment Matrix

The Baseline Assessment is more than just an inventory of investments; but serves as a mechanism to normalize and compare investments; a means to demonstrate to Executive Leadership the magnitude of the collective geospatial need across an enterprise; and can be used as input to the OMB CPIC and annual OMB Roadmap submission for IT Asset Inventory. Performed as a task under the direction of an organization’s Geospatial Executive Steering Committee, the Baseline Assessment would include a profile of an enterprise’s organizations which have, need or plan to have geospatial capabilities mapped to their Core Stakeholders. The Stakeholders could include communities or sectors such as: federal, state, local, tribal and territory government, public, private and international as well as business/mission areas or “Services for Citizens” [1] such as Defense and National Security, Intelligence, Law Enforcement, Operations, Emergency Management, etc. The OMB Federal Enterprise Architecture Business Reference Model v3 [2] provides further subdivisions of the Services for Citizens(e.g.,111 Homeland Security: 033: Border and Transpiration Security; 034: Key Asset and Critical Infrastructure Protection; and 035: Catastrophic Defense) that can be used to provide detailed business/mission area delineation.


Table 1. Geospatial Baseline Assessment: Core Mission Services and Stakeholders



These business/mission alignments are directly aligned to the OMB CPIC process for investment planning and justification. Each fiscal year, Federal Agencies are required to submit Exhibit 53s and Exhibit 300s to request funding for new major projects and on-going capital investments and align these projects and investments to the Federal Enterprise Architecture Business Reference Model. This enables OMB to identify projects and investments across the Federal Government that support a common business purpose, which further allows OMB to identify candidate shared services that more agencies can use, thereby reducing the number of redundant services throughout the Federal Government. Through the use of a standard classification scheme, the BRM functional taxonomy, opportunities for shared services and elimination of redundancies may be identified. This high level profile provides a basic awareness of the enterprise organization’s stakeholder communities of interest and an early indication of the types of information sharing opportunities or limitations that may exist.

The Baseline Assessment Matrix describes an organization through a taxonomy of common (shared) business/mission functional requirements and/or support service capabilities (Table 2) instead of through a stove-piped single organizational view.

Table 2. Geospatial Baseline Assessment: Core Capability



The Baseline Assessment Matrix will allow for a high-level view of an enterprise organization’s investments (e.g., C = Current and P = Planned) in the areas of: Visualization, Geospatial Analysis and Processing, Reporting, Search and Discovery, Alerts and Notifications, Collaboration, Content Management, Resource Management, Data Management, Asset Management, Decision Support, IT Security and other categories as defined by the Executive Steering Committee. This profile of Current/Planned investments provides an initial, high-level profile of the general types of needs each organization provides its stakeholders. This profile helps to frame the more detailed Baseline Assessments that will come in the areas of: Data Inputs and Datasets; Functionality Assessment; Infrastructure and Technology Assessment.

Once all of the Baseline Assessment Matrices have all been developed, it will provide the framework for the Executive Leaders, Program Managers and Solution Architects to begin to assess opportunities to leverage and maximize shared-service capabilities across the enterprise.

It will also provide the basis for an assessment of where possible redundant investments could be reduced; which planned investments could be avoided by agreeing to a steward or service provider (e.g., Org #X or Org #Y) for the use of one of the investments which is most effective. The Matrix will also begin to identify where gaps exist and planned investments can be prioritized and leveraged.





Stakeholder Performance Guide Business

The Performance Guidance provides a summation of the key decision points necessary to determine the most effective and efficient design, development, and implementation of the geospatial system investment.

Table 3. Stakeholder Performance Guide: Business







Executive Leadership

• Establish and/or Co-Chair to Chartered governance (ESC/IPT) body.

• Signatory to establish Investment Technology Acquisition Review (ITAR) framework.

• Signatory to ISAs for access or dissemination of data and/or services.

• Work with other Executives to frame Charter goals/objectives and commitment to level-of- effort support/involvement.

• Establish review board with CIO/CFO representation and consider policy to ensure participation and commitment.

• Establish or follow General Council process and review and maintain repository of Agreements.

• Signatory with defined responsibility and stated measurable results (e.g., ELAs with % cost reduction, shared services with defined Steward, etc.).

• Promotes interoperability, reduces redundant investments, and allows for cost share.

• Reduce cost for data acquisition and/or document need for establishing an Enterprise License Agreement.

Program Manager

• Coordinate across other internal Department/Agency investment PMs for recommendations to Execs for strategic and tactical objectives.

• Staff and perform Working Group tasks as defined within the ESC/IPT Charter.

• Develop performance measures and target end-state (To-Be) environment.

• PMs identify and prioritize capability gaps and planned investments to determine To-Be end-state vs. As-Is environment and prepared business plan and value proposition for Execs approval.

• Recommend Working Group priority, short-term/high-value tasks and deliver early results to demonstrate benefits.

• Within Charter define Working Group roles/responsibilities and prepare a work plan with Plan of Action & Milestones (POA&M).

• Early adoption/visibility to strengthen long-term commitment from Executive Leadership.

• Working Group member awareness of multiple investments across enterprise promotes coordination resulting in leveraged investments.

• Results oriented for measurable and quantifiable results demonstrating value of collaboration.

Solution Architect

• SME and reach back for Working Group participation.

• Validate technical requirements for work plan.

• Develop baseline assessment and perform capability gap analysis for As-Is and To-Be environments.

• Develop technical approach for work plan tasks and POA&M.

• Technical vetting and validation across investments for desired To-Be end-state environment.

• Ensure broadest possible technical review, adoption, and acceptance.

Updated on February 4, 2020