NCEZID Surveillance Architecture Decision Support System (SADSS), Phase I

Project Name: NCEZID Surveillance Architecture Decision Support System (SADSS), Phase I

Project Status: Proposed

Point of Contact: Nai-Weng Cheng

Center: National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases

Keywords: Decision Support, Risk Management, Business Capability, Business Agility, Standardization, Process Improvement, Service Orientation, Reusability, Interoperability, Flexibility, Adaptability

Project Description: There are currently 37 NCEZID systems that provide either direct support or infrastructure services for surveillance studies and activities. This statistics suggests that we are likely to encounter, possibly unnecessary, obstacles when we are reacting to emerging surveillance requirements. The obstacles may include issues related to business process flexibility, data compatibility, and system interoperability; they not only severely degrade our business agility but also increase the cost of our solutions.

In order to advance the center’s mission efficiently, NCEZID requires information and knowledge to manage and respond to the dynamically changing surveillance needs and to plan and strategize for critical solution attributes such as reusability, interoperability, flexibility, adaptability, and reduced-time-to-market. An overall understanding of current business processes, systems, data, and underlying technologies enables us to make timely, informed decisions, to assess impact and interdependency, and to minimize uncertainty and risk when we adapt to changes. More importantly, such understanding allows us to precisely align IT investments with business strategies and objectives. This overall understanding can be realized by the development of the NCEZID Surveillance Architecture Decision Support System (SADSS).

SADSS will provide information that describes, for example, organizational structures, resources and roles, business objectives, business processes, domain data, IT systems and technologies, and the relationships among all of the aforementioned concepts and entities. A future blueprint for the enterprise and associated migration roadmaps from current state to target state are also common parts of such systems. Comprehensive and meaningful insights can be derived from the information collected in the SADSS to address questions such as:

  • What are the more effective ways in linking surveillance, laboratory, and epidemiology data?
  • What are the impacts to resources, processes, and our collaborators if we move our surveillance system to the cloud?
  • Who are the potential beneficiaries and customers if we create a new data or infrastructure service?
  • Where are the potential opportunities for process optimization and systems/data consolidation?
  • Which emerging technologies should we adopt? When and how?
  • How do we prioritize IT initiatives objectively?

There are already initiatives across the CDC (e.g., CDC Platform, DCIPHER, and SEDRIC) aimed to advance data sharing by improving data compatibility and system interoperability. So the goal of the project is not to propose yet another solution or framework for data sharing or interoperability. The primary objectives for this project are to:

  1. develop the NCEZID SADSS to provide relevant, comprehensive information for decision making and risk management, and
  2. lay the foundation for the development of an overarching Architecture Decision Support System (ADSS) to support execution of business objectives from all disciplines.Impact of project success: This effort provides NCEZID decision makers with actionable information to:
    1. Make timely, educated decisions so the center can maintain its business agility when reacting to changing requirements and new demands.
    2. Identify opportunities for a. business process improvement, b. data, system deduplication and consolidation, c. data standardization and sharing, d. service orientation, standardization, and sharing, e. system integration, interoperability, reusability, and f. adoption of emerging technologies.
    3. Envision future state for the center and devise migration roadmaps to achieve the vision.
    4. Conduct effective information resources governance.

Applicability of project for reuse within other public health programs: Although this project will focus on NCEZID’s surveillance needs initially, the methodology, information framework, and artifact templates can be promoted and applied to other public health programs and disciplines across CDC.

Methodology of project: The methodology used by the project is a combination of the following:

  1. Business Capability Mapping – this tool will be used to model the NCEZID’s business capabilities, processes, and functions required for successful execution of the center’s business strategy.
  2. Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF) – the framework will be used primarily to provide an information framework, a collection of standardized templates, and a structured approach to information and knowledge collection.

For more information about this project, please contact the CHIIC at or Brian Lee at

Page last reviewed: February 15, 2019