Modern-day enterprises face very turbulent, confusing and unpredictable environments, where change is the only constant. The ever-evolving business and customer needs have prompted many companies to re-strategize and rethink their approach to enterprise architecture and enterprise IT. The need for collaboration across all fronts is increasing, and organizations are coming to realize the necessity of better interaction between business and IT.
For this quest of transformation to be successful, enterprises need an Enterprise Architecture that is robust, sustainable and responsive to everyday business dynamics. The tools and techniques of EA remain beyond valuable, and when married together with IT Service Management organizations can unlock and benefit from an even greater value-add. This combination provides the innovative solutions today’s enterprises require to fully understand their business and IT environments and make better decisions informed by expert insights and backed by live, real-time data sources.
Enterprise Architecture has always been a practice of collaborative nature. Whether it’s supporting the needs of different groups of stakeholders, or interacting with a wide array of interconnected disciplines like Business Process Management, Governance & Compliance etc., EA has always largely supported cooperation and collaboration on many levels.
Today the spotlight is on collaboration with IT Service Management. In our experience, the pairing of the two has been gaining significant momentum and is of particular interest to many companies worldwide. This article will delve into the benefits of both disciplines and outline how EA & ITSM intertwine, cooperate and support one another, to deliver better business outcomes and enable sustainable, effective IT organizations of the 21st century.
Enterprise Architecture helps your business stay agile and flexible. In its simplest form, EA entails aligning business’ strategic vision with its information technology. What this really means in practice is that EA lays out the conceptual blueprint or framework that defines the structure and operation of an organization, and determines how an organization can most effectively reach its current and future objectives.
EA employs architecture principles and practices to steer organizations in the right direction, and drive responses to different business and IT changes, ultimately helping organizations achieve targeted business outcomes and capitalize on relevant business disruptions.
Some advantages of having an Enterprise Architecture include:
However, to be able to achieve that, Enterprise Architecture goes beyond mere architectural principles and relies on powerful, state-of-the-art tools that allow for strategy definition, cataloging, analysis and designing of the as-is and to-be architectures states, as well as steering and monitoring of their implementation in the organization.
EA tools support Enterprise Architecture in collaboratively defining a structural model or blueprint of an organization. Their aim is to visualize, store, model, analyse and manage key EA information, thus supporting stakeholders in their process of strategic planning, execution and decision making. Although many EA tools offer easy representation of the enterprise through different high-level models, organizations are increasingly observing that simply mapping out and visualizing the enterprise isn’t going to be enough.
That’s why state-of-the-art Enterprise Architecture tools need to possess capabilities that go way beyond pure cataloging and analysis. Such capabilities include providing live insights into the real-world architecture assets and offering open platforms that allow for seamless and versatile integration possibilities. These additional competencies contribute to further strengthening and enriching of EA models with valuable data on all levels (e.g. financial data, user satisfaction data, application or service performance data, etc.), thus providing the necessary insights which allow for decisions to be made based on where the enterprise stands today, and not only on historical data.
While Enterprise Architecture looks at the different pieces comprising an organization and analyzes the orchestration among them to support business objectives, IT Service Management, on the other hand, focuses on contributing to the quality of organizations’ IT services.
In a nutshell, IT Service Management refers to the way you manage information systems that deliver value to your organization. Digging a little deeper, ITSM can be defined as a structured approach to designing, managing, and improving the way IT services are implemented, operated and used within an organization.
As such, ITSM encompasses all processes, policies and procedures that support services throughout their lifecycle. This includes activities such as change management, problem and incident management, asset management and alike.
IT Service Management helps organizations build structure around the lifecycle of their IT services, as well as standardize their delivery, which if done well can help bring IT services and business needs closer together, thus stimulating better business outcomes and overall improvement of the enterprise.
The benefits of IT Service Management include:
Similar to EA, IT Service Management’s various processes and functions call for specialized ITSM tools that support the collective set of processes pertaining to end-to-end service management. To fully support services throughout their lifecycles, ITSM tools deal with matters such as service requests, service changes, incidents and any other issues that may arise in the course of day-to-day operations. With direct insights into the latest developments in their IT environments, organizations are better equipped to grasp the bigger picture revolving around the way services are being delivered, operated and consumed, as well as to identify and react to problems, thanks to ITSM tools' configuration management databases (CMDBs).
Enterprise Architecture and IT Service Management are distinct, but interdependent management domains that, if combined wisely, can greatly support and complement one another.
When looking beyond pure IT Service Management, companies can see that the lack in architectural traceability and root-cause analysis capabilities imposed by pure ITSM tools can be very effectively overcome by specialist EA tools that provide a clear lineage and dependency path that give context to the IT services being managed.
In contrast, ITSM tools which include a full-fledged CMDB provide essential information that allows Enterprise Architects to better understand the assets they are juggling with through their real-time health information (such as up-times, number of incidents or problems) or simply through populating the architecture repository with the latest as-is asset information.
Once existing and operating in harmony, Enterprise Architecture and IT Service Management enhance the synergetic relationship between people, processes, technologies and IT. That way, EA & ITSM help relevant stakeholders gain full visibility into their infrastructure and services, and provide more control over their environment (both from business and IT perspectives), ultimately leading to better business decisions.
Benefits of combining Enterprise Architecture and IT Service Management include:
Connecting the market-leading business transformation suite, ADOIT and ruler of the ITSM industry, ServiceNow offers a perfect blend of the operational detailed world of IT Service Management and strategic high-level world of Enterprise Architecture.
The ADOIT ServiceNow standard connector allows organizations to automatically synchronize their ServiceNow CMDB library and use it to populate and enrich their EA repositories in ADOIT. These synchronized IT assets can then be incorporated into EA models and used for planning of to-be architectures, dependency and impact analyses.
What's more, the coordination between the two tools offers access to real-time operational data from ServiceNow that is directly displayed in the intuitive, easy to read Insights Dashboard in ADOIT, while still offering the possibility to drill deeper and jump into ServiceNow for detailed service documentation whenever needed.
Integrating ADOIT with ServiceNow helps enterprises better analyse and manage their IT asset portfolios by focusing on real-time performance data. With those insights at hand, stakeholders are better equipped to make informed strategic decisions such as:
Enterprise Architecture, as a strategic management practice, helps organizations align information technology and business to facilitate the achievement of current and future goals and objectives. ITSM on the other hand offers a more granular touch, with which businesses can dive deeper into the world of IT services, allowing them to better understand, design and manage how these services support the enterprise. While these two disciplines can coexist independent from one another, organizations of today are starting to understand and recognize the immense value of bringing them together. Once combined, EA and ITSM provide the necessary information and insights required by today's enterprises to make better informed decisions that drive their architecture and IT services forward.
BOC Group has over a decade of experience in consulting and leading business transformation projects for companies around the world. We offer not only the expert advice needed to succeed, but also comprehensive tool support and training for successful implementation and continued operation. If you are looking to get started on your EA and ITSM journey, or want to explore the possibilities that the ADOIT ServiceNow integration offers, please feel free to reach out and schedule a demo with one of our experts!