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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

     Indian Health Manual
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Part 8 - Information Resources Management

Chapter 5 - Conducting Information Technology Alternatives Analysis

Title Section
Introduction 8-5.1
    Purpose 8-5.1A
    Background 8-5.1B
    Scope 8-6.1C
    Authority 8-6.1D
    Definitions 8-6.1E
    Acronyms 8-6.1F
    Policy 8-6.1G
    Procedures 8-6.1H
    Roles and Responsibilities 8-6.1I


  1. PURPOSE.  This chapter establishes the policies and responsibilities for conducting alternative analyses throughout the Indian Health Service (IHS).

  2. BACKGROUND.  The Clinger Cohen Act (CCA) of 1996, the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act of 1990, and the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program (JFMIP) require each Department and its Agencies/Bureaus/Operating Divisions to establish and conform to an enterprise architecture, provide uniform systems, ensure cost-effective investments, and deliver systems within reasonable budget and timeframes.  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) complied by developing an enterprise infrastructure architecture; an enterprise resource planning working group for financial management and procurement; an enterprise human resource and payroll system program; and an enterprise asset management strategy.  The HHS is also the lead for the Grants Systems Requirements Team for JFMIP.

    Congress and the Office of Management and Budget have clearly stated that each executive agency must actively manage its Information Technology (IT) program to provide assurances that technology expenditures are necessary and purposeful, and will result in demonstrated improvements in mission effectiveness and customer service.

  3. SCOPE.  This chapter applies to all IHS organizational components including but not limited to Headquarters, Area Offices, and service units conducting business for and on behalf of the IHS through contractual relationships when using IHS IT resources.  The policies contained in this chapter apply to all IHS IT activities including the equipment, procedures, and technologies that are employed in managing these activities.  The policy includes all IHS office locations, including teleworking, travel, and other off-site locations.  Agency officials shall apply this chapter to contractor personnel, interns, externs, and other non-Government employees by incorporating such reference in contracts or memorandums of agreement as conditions for using Government-provided IT resources.


    1. “Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996,” CCA, Division E, Public Law (P.L.) 104-106

    2. CFO Act of 1990, P.L. 101-576

    3. JFMIP

    4. HHS Information Resource Management (IRM) policies:

      1. “Capital Planning and Investment Control,” HHS-IRM-2000-0001, January 8, 2001

      2. “Conducting Information Technology Alternatives Analysis,” HHS-IRM-2000-0002, January 8, 2001


    1. Alternative Analysis.  An evaluation of scenarios and design paths for meeting a general set of system design requirements described in a “Business Need Document,” or a specific technical/architectural issue.  This evaluation presents alternatives, which include assessments of current system functionality and design that may satisfy some of the requirements as well as the functionality that may impact the interfaces with other systems.  A set of evaluation criteria is used to weigh the various alternatives against each other and provide a recommendation for the analysis.

    2. Architecture.  The organizational structure of a system or component [Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) 90].

    3. Business Case.  A structured proposal for a business need that serves as an investment decision package to improve business operations.  A business case consists of a business need and a technical evaluation.

    4. Business Need.  Any request at a high or low level to improve, change, update, or add new systems that facilitate the Agency’s missions, goals, and objectives.

    5. Enterprise.  The entire Agency and/or its components.

    6. Information Technology.  Information technology is any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission or reception of data, or information by the Agency.  Information technology includes computers, ancillary equipment, software, firmware and similar procedures, services (including support services), and related resources.  Information technology does not include any equipment that is acquired by a Federal contractor incidental to a Federal contract.  For purposes of this definition, equipment is "used" by the IHS whether the IHS uses the equipment directly or it is used by a contractor under a contract with the IHS that:

      1. requires the use of such equipment; or

      2. requires the use, to a significant extent, of such equipment in the performance of a service or the furnishing of a product.

    7. Infrastructure.  A sub-structure or underlying foundation; the basic installations and facilities on which information systems depend (i.e., hardware platform, operating system, telecommunications).

    8. Performance.  The degree to which a system or component accomplishes its designated functions within given constraints such as speed, accuracy, or memory usage (IEEE 90).

    9. Program Area.  A representation of customer organizations.

    10. Program Management.  The planning, organizing, directing, and controlling of the resources and schedules that coordinate the prioritization and sequencing of a collection of similar or interdependent projects.

    11. Review.  A formal evaluation procedure issued to determine the correctness of the products developed during a system life-cycle phase.


    1. CFO    Chief Financial Officer

    2. CIO    Chief Information Officer

    3. CCA    Clinger-Cohen Act

    4. HHS    Department of Health and Human Services

    5. DIR    Division of Information Resources

    6. EIM    Enterprise Infrastructure Management

    7. IHS    Indian Health Service

    8. IRM    Information Resources Management

    9. IT    Information Technology

    10. I/T/U    IHS/Tribal/Urban

    11. ITIRB    Information Technology Investment Review Board

    12. JFMIP    Joint Financial Management Improvement Program

    13. TCO    Total Cost of Ownership

  7. POLICY.

    1. The program or project office manager of each organizational component shall determine the component’s business needs, requirements, and weighted selection criteria in concert with the IHS IT architecture, requirements, and weighted selection criteria.

    2. The IHS shall identify designs for alternatives analyses using previously conducted analyses and studies by conducting a gap analyses [See H(1)b] or by establishing new alternatives analyses studies.

    3. The IHS shall establish a central repository for completed alternatives analyses.

    4. The IHS shall establish a central list of IHS-wide enterprise licenses.

    5. The IHS shall consider and utilize when possible the HHS Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) business case in lieu of conducting and writing separate IT Investment Review Board (ITIRB) business cases, alternatives analyses, security plans, performance measurement plans, and procurement.


    1. Alternatives Analysis.

      1. Previous Alternatives Analyses.  Each organization/program shall identify previously conducted alternatives analyses, cost/benefit analyses, or risk/benefit analyses studies that may be used in lieu of conducting its own analysis if the previous studies are consistent with the IHS requirements and weighted criteria.

      2. Gap Analysis.

        1. The IHS organization/program shall perform a gap analysis against the previous analysis rather than a complete alternatives analysis, thereby reducing the time and cost of conducting a duplicate study.

        2. Before investing in establishing or expanding services in a new installation, the organization/program shall conduct a gap analysis of existing systems or sites within and outside its organization that operate the same application to determine the cost and benefit of using or expanding the existing system or site operation.  To the extent possible, each organization/program shall use existing installations to consolidate its computer systems, telecommunications, hardware, software, and staff operations (including grant programs).  This approach will reduce overall Agency costs in facilities, utilities, hardware, software, and staff.  It will also reduce the risk of security vulnerabilities and retaining multiple technical staff.

      3. New Alternatives Analysis Study.  If previous studies cannot be found, the Division of Information Resources (DIR) shall inform the IHS Chief Information Officer (CIO) that the DIR shall establish a new alternatives analysis study.  The CIO shall provide advice as to the construction of the alternatives analysis so that other organizations/programs may benefit from the study.

    2. Alternatives Analysis Central Repository.  The CIO shall also establish a central repository for completed alternative analyses and studies.  The completed alternatives analysis or study shall be submitted to the CIO by the IHS organizational component, program or project office manager conducting the analysis or study upon completion.

    3. Enterprise Licenses.  The CIO shall establish a central list of IHS-wide enterprise licenses on behalf of the IHS.  If the selected alternative requires the procurement of software licenses, the organization/program shall use an existing enterprise license or work collaboratively with the CIO to procure an Agency-wide enterprise license.

    4. Departmental Total Cost of Ownership Business Case.

      1. The Enterprise Infrastructure Management (EIM) initiative has conducted a TCO business case for HHS.  This analysis includes investments in framework event technology, network systems, security and services event management, software distribution, asset management, change management, configuration management, performance and availability, storage management, user account management, problem management, and knowledge management.

      2. As long as the IHS investments in these technologies are validated by the HHS Office of Information Resources Management to conform with the EIM architecture, standards, and products, the IHS can take full advantage of this existing work and shall not be required to conduct and write separate ITlRB business cases, alternatives analyses, security plans, performance measurement plans, and procurement.  The HHS operating division modules are an addendum or update to the existing EIM documentation rather than a completely separate set of documentation.

    5. Additional Guidance.  Additional guidance (e.g., compliance with Raines Rules) may be found in Part 8, Chapter 4, "Capital Planning and Investment Control," Indian Health Manual.


    1. Chief Information Officer.  The office of the CIO formulates the IHS IT goals and strategies for defining measures of success, assessing and evaluating IT use, and reporting the status of the IHS' IT programs.  The CIO is responsible for the following:

      1. Providing advice and assistance to the IHS Director, the Information Systems Advisory Committee, and other senior management personnel to ensure that IT is acquired and information resources are managed for the Agency in a manner that implements the policies and procedures of the CCA.

      2. Working directly with the CFO to ensure that the IHS also complies with the CFO Act and JFMIP.  The CIO is also responsible for developing, maintaining, and facilitating the implementation of a sound and integrated ITA, and promoting the effective and efficient design and operation of all major IRM procedures and processes for the IHS.

      3. Ensuring that IHS IT investments satisfy the CCA effectively and efficiently, support mission requirements, meet strict efficiency and performance criteria, and conform to the IHS architecture.  The CIO's office shall track and provide a registry of previously conducted alternatives analyses in its role as the Executive Secretariat of the IHS ITIRB.  The CIO's office shall provide advice on the construction of each alternative analysis so that other IHS organizations/programs may benefit from the study in the future.

      4. Performing ITIRB reviews of IHS organization/program business cases, alternative analyses, and other specific investment documents.  The CIO, supported by IHS program or project managers, shall be responsible for ensuring this policy is implemented for all programs or projects within the IHS.

      5. Providing information to the IHS program or project managers regarding previously conducted alternatives analyses and advice on the construction of the alternatives analyses so that other program or project managers may benefit from the studies in the future.

    2. Chief Financial Officer.  The CFO is responsible for providing advice and assistance to the Director, IHS, the CIO, and other senior management personnel to ensure financial resources are managed for the Agency in a manner that implements the policies and procedures of the CFO Act and JFMIP.  The CFO is responsible for ensuring that the Agency receives a clean financial opinion annually.  The CFO shall review all documentation submitted to the ITIRB that pertains to financial systems and mixed systems that are partially financial.

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