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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 8-5.1C
    Authority 8-5.1D
    Definitions 8-5.1E
    Acronyms 8-5.1F
Policy 8-5.2
Procedures 8-5.3
    Alternatives Analysis 8-5.3A
    New Alternatives Analysis Study 8-5.3B
    Alternatives Analysis Central Repository 8-5.3C
    Enterprise Licences 8-5.3D
Roles and Responsibilities 8-5.4
    Program or Project Office Manager 8-5.4A
    Indian Health Service Chief Information Officer 8-5.4B
    Indian Health Service Chief Financial Officer 8-5.4C
    Headquarters Office and Area Directors 8-5.4D

8-5.1  INTRODUCTION

  1. Purpose.  This chapter revises and updates the policies and responsibilities for conducting alternative analyses throughout the Indian Health Service (IHS).
  2. Background.  The Clinger-Cohen Act (CCA) of 1996 and the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act of 1990 require each Department and its Agencies/Bureaus/Operating Divisions to establish and conform to enterprise architecture, provide uniform systems, ensure cost-effective investments, and deliver systems within reasonable budget and timeframes.

    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.
  4. Authority.

    1. "Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 (formerly the IT Management Reform Act of 1996) [Division E, Public Law (P.L.) 104-106]
    2. Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, P.L. 101-576
    3. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Information Resource Management (IRM) Policies:

      1. "Information Technology Capital Planning and Investment Control," HHS-IRM-2010-0002, February 26, 2010
      2. "Conducting IT Alternatives Analysis," HHS-IRM-2003-0002, June 13, 2003
    4. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, P.L. 104-13
  5. Definitions.

    1. Alternatives Analysis.  An evaluation of scenarios and design paths for meeting a general set of system design requirements described in a "Business Case," 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 business case is a documented structured proposal outlining a business improvement requirement.  The business case document is created to facilitate a selection decision for a proposed investment or IT project by the IHS IT Governance organizations.  The business case describes the reasons and justification for the investment or IT project in terms of business process performance, needs and problems, and expected benefits.  It identifies high level requirements that are to be satisfied, an analysis of proposed alternative solutions, assumptions, constraints, risks, cost benefit analysis, and a preliminary acquisition strategy.
    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.
  6. Acronyms.

    1. CCA - Clinger-Cohen Act
    2. EA - Enterprise Architecture
    3. IRM - Information Resources Management
    4. IT - Information Technology
    5. ITIRB - Information Technology Investment Review Board
8-5.2  POLICY

It is IHS policy that the IHS shall actively manage its IT program to provide assurances that technology expenditures are necessary, purposeful, and will result in demonstrated improvements in mission effectiveness and customer service.  Headquarters Office Directors and Area Directors shall determine their IT business needs, requirements, and weighted selection criteria in concert with the IHS IT architecture, requirements, and weighted selection criteria for the kind of product or service under consideration.

8-5.3  PROCEDURES

  1. Alternatives Analysis.

    1. Previous Alternatives Analyses.  Each Headquarters Office or Area Director shall identify previously conducted IT 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. If appropriate, the Headquarters Office or Area Director shall perform a gap analysis against the previous analysis rather than a complete IT alternatives analysis, thereby reducing the time and cost of conducting a duplicate study.
      2. Before investing in establishing or expanding services in a new IT resource, the Headquarters Office or Area Director shall conduct a gap analysis of existing systems or sites within and outside its organization that operate the same IT resource to determine the cost and benefit of using or expanding the existing system or site operation.  To the extent possible, each Headquarters Office Director or Area Director shall use existing technology 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.
  2. New Alternatives Analysis Study.  If previous studies cannot be found, the Headquarters Office or Area Director shall inform the IHS Chief Information Officer (CIO) that a new IT alternatives analysis study is required.  The CIO shall provide advice as to the construction of the alternatives analysis so that other programs may benefit from the study.
  3. Alternatives Analysis Central Repository.  The CIO shall also establish a central repository for completed IT alternatives analyses and studies.  The completed IT 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.
  4. Enterprise Licenses.  The CIO shall establish a central list of IHS-wide IT enterprise licenses on behalf of the IHS.  If the selected alternative requires the procurement of software licenses, the Headquarters Office or Area Director shall use an existing enterprise license or work collaboratively with the CIO to procure an Agency-wide enterprise license.

8-5.4  ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. Program or Project Office Manager.  Each IHS Headquarters or Area Office organizational component program or project office manager shall:

    1. Determine their individual component's IT business needs, requirements, and weighted selection criteria in concert with the IHS IT Enterprise Architecture (EA), requirements, and weighted selection criteria.
    2. Identify designs for alternatives analysis of IT solutions using previously conducted analyses and studies by conducting a gap analysis (see 8-5.3A(2)) or by establishing new IT alternatives analysis studies.
    3. Establish a central repository for completed IT alternatives analyses.
    4. Establish a central list of IHS-wide IT enterprise licenses.
  2. Indian Health Service Chief Information Officer.  The IHS 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 IHS 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 IHS CFO to ensure that the IHS also complies with the CFO Act.  The IHS CIO is also responsible for developing, maintaining, and facilitating the implementation of a sound and integrated EA, 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 IHS CIO's office shall track and provide a registry of previously conducted alternatives analyses in its role as the Executive Secretariat of the IHS IT Investment Review Board (ITIRB).
    4. Performing CIO and ITIRB reviews of IHS IT business cases, IT alternative analyses, and other specific IT investment documents.  The IHS CIO, supported by IHS program or project managers, shall be responsible for ensuring this policy is implemented for all IT programs or projects within the IHS.
    5. Providing information to IHS organizations, and IT program or project managers regarding previously conducted IT alternatives analyses and advice on the construction of the IT alternatives analyses so that other IT program or project managers may benefit from the studies in the future.
  3. Indian Health Service Chief Financial Officer.  The IHS CFO is responsible for providing advice and assistance to the Director, IHS, the IHS 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.  The IHS CFO is responsible for ensuring that the Agency receives a clean financial opinion annually.  The IHS CFO shall review all documentation submitted to the ITIRB that pertains to financial systems and mixed systems that are partially financial.
  4. Headquarters Office and Area Directors.  Headquarters Office and Area Directors or designees are responsible for ensuring their respective organization's compliance with this chapter.  Responsibilities include:

    1. Providing advice and assistance to Headquarters Office and Area staff to ensure that IT is acquired and information resources are managed for their respective organizations in a manner that implements this chapter's policies and procedures.
    2. Ensuring that Headquarters Office and Area IT investments satisfy the CCA effectively and efficiently, support mission requirements, meet strict efficiency and performance criteria, and conform to the IHS architecture.
    3. Performing reviews of their Office or Area IT business cases, IT alternatives analyses, and other specific IT investment documents.
    4. Tracking and providing an Office or Area registry of previously conducted alternatives analyses to the Director, Division of Program Management and Budget, OIT, at a minimum, annually.  Information may be requested more frequently as needed.
    5. Area Directors may issue supplements to this chapter for their Areas, as appropriate.

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