What is the NIEM Cost Model?

The NIEM Cost Model is a budgeting tool for estimating the cost of developing NIEM exchanges, from the initial training and design of an information exchange to implementation. With calculated reduction rates available, organizations are also able to quantify potential cost savings when reusing standardized information exchange processes.

Why use the NIEM Cost Model?

The NIEM Cost Model calculates and quantifies costs, benefits, and ROI of using NIEM by:

  • Providing a funding estimate to use as a starting point for budgeting and planning phase purposes;
  • Allowing users to quantify the associated costs of adopting NIEM-conformant exchanges as well as associated costs savings and/or avoidance; and
  • Demonstrating efficiencies an organization can realize each time a NIEM exchange is implemented through re-use.

It’s important to note that NIEM is a solid starting point, but information exchange relies on many capabilities, including access controls, policy automation, transmission protocol, and others that have costs associated with them.

How does it work?

Users can enter defined expectations and variables into the Cost Model, including elements used in the exchange, level of effort, complexity, types of resources, and hourly costs. Flexibility is built into the model, allowing users to easily adjust the numerical values associated with each of these variables.

Download the NIEM Cost Model

For step-by-step instructions for conducting a cost analysis or baseline budget estimate for adopting NIEM, download the User Guide.

Cost Model Case Study

The Commonwealth of Virginia had a business need to share information across agencies and levels of government in order to meet new statutory requirements for standardizing “citizen-centric” data. The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) adopted NIEM as a way to meet this requirement.

VITA used the NIEM Engagement Process’ (NEP) Readiness Assessment, including the NIEM Cost Model, to construct the business case for NIEM. As with many information exchanges, two sets of variables were at play:

  • Exchange variables, such as the number of elements, modifications, and the level of reuse
  • Cost variables, such as the level of effort and cost of human and technological resources

VITA was unsure of what the implementation level would be across agencies in the Commonwealth. To account for this uncertainty, they modified the NEP by building three versions of the cost model. This prepared the agency to consider the cost of a low, medium, or high level of participation in NIEM.

To develop a project schedule, VITA took a "worst case scenario" approach to assess required resources and time. VITA also wrote a methodology statement that documented VITA’s process for assessing and implementing NIEM. The three cost scenarios and the methodology document are available to the NIEM community to help guide adoption.

The NIEM Engagement Process and in particular, the NIEM Cost Model, prepared VITA to answer questions about NIEM adoption. VITA is now working to implement an adopted "NIEM Core Person Data Exchange Standard" to support the NIEM conformance strategy. Because of the reuse of these exchange schemas, VITA expects to see the cost per system of information exchanges decline over time.

The NIEM Engagement Process

The NIEM Cost Model is a part of the NIEM Engagement Process, a reusable set of resources that your organization can use to:

  • Assess the value of applying NIEM to your information-sharing and exchange activities; and
  • Develop a NIEM adoption strategy based on your specific capabilities, needs, and priorities.