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IT Service Management and Enterprise Architecture (EA) have been planets creating their own orbits for some time. One creates processes for service management while the other creates practical standards for teams who may function in very different ways. But when the two join forces, they can create something new that redefines the employee experience.
Enterprise Architecture is taking off, with recent reports of up to 72% of organizations either starting, restarting, or renewing their EA efforts.
But what is EA?
Enterprise Architecture is the integration of business or operational architecture, solution or system architecture, and technical or standards architecture. EA is formally defined as:
“Enterprise Architecture (EA) facilitates the process of translating business vision and strategy into effective enterprise change by creating, communicating, and improving the key requirements, principles, and models that describe the enterprise's future state and enable its evolution and transformation. This transformation process entails the analysis and design of an enterprise in its current and future states from a strategic, organizational, and technological perspective.”
In short: Enterprise Architecture helps multiple teams in an organization work more efficiently toward a shared goal by understanding all the different elements that make up a business, and how those elements will interact with each other. EA focuses on strategic issues in the business to align transformation programs.
This is accomplished through several frameworks of EA, including:
We won’t dive into the frameworks here, but it’s important to understand that these frameworks all work to accomplish the goal of navigating and mapping technologies and goals within the organization.
Before we can talk about the relationship between enterprise architecture and ITSM, it is important to understand a key question: what is ITSM? ITSM is defined by Axelos as “The implementation and management of quality IT services that meet the needs of the business. IT service management is performed by IT service providers through an appropriate mix of people, process and information technology.”
In other words, ITSM refers to the entirety of activities directed by policies, organized and structured in processes and supporting procedures, that are performed by an organization to design, plan, deliver, operate and control information technology services offered to customers.
Generally speaking, Enterprise Architecture is about IT planning and strategic initiatives, while ITSM is all about execution, the management of operational activities, and service delivery.
Think of a business as both the railroad track and the train. Each department is focusing on a different aspect –- for example, DevOps and IT are working to building the train track while at the same time sales is shoveling the coal into the train’s engine while marketing is steering, not to mention the countless other departments helping to both build the track and drive the train. If one department struggles in their processes, the train might not have a track and conversely the track might not have a train. EA helps create a streamlined way to navigate these processes – but it does not coordinate or communicate between departments, nor does it dictate or organize service delivery. That’s where ITSM comes in.
Enterprise Architecture sounds like another word for Enterprise Service Management – and while the two do have some similarities they are actually quite different. ITSM helps departments communicate while EA provides a framework for the processes being communicated. ITSM and EA create a more cohesive connection between people, their processes, and technology being used.
It should be noted, ITSM and EA together can be used with portfolio management, IT asset recovery, and more.
EA and ITSM are sometimes considered “either, or”. But together, they can create a more seamless experience. Below are just a few of the benefits of using ITSM and EA together.
One of the inherent benefits of ITSM is that it reduces redundant tasks, especially when used in concert with self-service technology. Similarly, the goal of EA is to map and streamline seemingly unrelated tasks and departmental functions and make other team members more aware of the function of your unit. It only stands to reason that by connecting the two, you can eliminate some of the redundancies while still delivering service efficiently.
If you want to get employees excited about work, let them out of their respective boxes. By that, I mean that cross-training with the use of EA and ITSM to facilitate this can help create a collaborative environment and provide employees more room to grow into the roles they want to explore.
It sounds counter-intuitive to suggest that a framework can enhance the pursuit of the agile methodology. However, disciplined EA in conjunction with ITSM enables agile teams to focus on value creation. Further, the clarity and collaboration afforded by ITSM and EA allows for team members to help one another more easily, which can be helpful in the pursuit of agile service delivery.
The bigger question of why cloud-based ITSM and EA can work together boils down to one thing: better business alignment. Combined, these technologies and methodologies can help IT managers better plan investments in future IT projects. Further, the combination helps to create a cycle that helps drive tactics for the IT department. EA shows the strategy while ITSM becomes the system of record for the strategy’s execution, which means that IT managers have a better idea of the bigger picture.
The combination of Enterprise Architecture and ITSM will result in greater visibility across the IT department. This can result in optimized costs. Consider the impact on duplication efforts, the reduction of ambiguity among the enterprise, and the increase in employee satisfaction – this all adds up to cost optimization. Less turnover because of a better employee experience is also a major cost-saver, not to mention the ability to better plan IT initiatives which can reduce waste.
Part of the process in Enterprise Architecture is creating a roadmap to guide change. This is no different when it comes to guiding the integration between ITSM an EA. If you are using the ITIL v3/2011 framework, you will likely need to set up a change advisory board (CAB) and proceed with the usual protocol for any new integration or change.
Regarding EA, you will need to create a roadmap which can take several forms, but which would go beyond just addressing budgetary needs and strategy for the short term. As a prerequisite for creating Enterprise Architecture, each department must clearly draft its mission, values, vision, measurable goals, and capabilities. Then, each team can select leaders to coordinate and map functions together, involving stakeholders and business leaders (not unlike a CAB in service management).
Remember: this is part of a greater digital transformation strategy. The most important part of any new digital transformation strategy is understanding the measurable goals and KPIs to set. For example, if Net Promoter Score (NPS) will be important to your organization, this should be part of the EA and ITSM processes.
Enterprise Architecture and ITSM can work cohesively, but it is important to understand the best strategies before diving in. In order to get started with a successful ITSM and EA strategy, you should make sure that your ITSM tools has the capability to be used outside of IT, among other important features. Once you have evaluated your ITSM tool to be sure it is the right fit, you will be ready to embark on your journey as an enterprise architect.
To learn how EasyVista Service Manager can be used with Enterprise Architecture, get in touch with one of our experts..
Loïc Besnard serves as Senior Director of Product Marketing and Head Technical Evangelist at EasyVista. Besnard served as Global Pre-Sales Director of EasyVista until January 2017. He joined EasyVista in 2009 and is responsible for EasyVista’s worldwide pre-sales engineering strategy. With over 15 years of experience in the IT industry and international technical sales, Besnard supports EasyVista’s growth, international development and technical sales operations.