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The enterprise architect’s role in ITIL v3

Experts recommend integrating enterprise architecture processes with broader IT processes, such as project portfolio management and SOA portfolio management. If your organization has adopted ITIL v3 for service management – and it likely has since ITIL is the leading best practice framework according to Forrester Research– now is a good time for you to become involved in your organization's service portfolio management as well.

Chances are, even if you have been actively involved in integrating EA with other IT processes, it is unlikely you have been involved in your organization’s ITIL deployment. In its September 2010 survey Forrester found that more than 50 percent of EA groups are only minimally or not at all involved in ITIL adoption. There are several reasons for this, according to Forrester. While version 3 of ITIL is the first to identify the role of the enterprise architect, it is limited to the design domain. And among the five ITIL process domains, design and strategy are less frequently implemented than the others. Furthermore, Forrester has found that the drivers for ITIL adoption do not generally include enterprise architecture.

So why integrate EA processes with ITIL v3? EA governance is often seen as “heavy and delaying projects,” says Henry Peyret, principal analyst, Forrester. Anytime EA can be included in existing IT governance steps then it saves time and effort. “It is particularly true for PPM and APM governance

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processes, but it is also for ITIL,” says Peyret.

Now is a good time to adopt ITIL for EA because, according to Peyret. “ITIL v3 is far more business-oriented. EAs are also becoming more business-oriented, so it is a good time to connect both,” he says.

For the first time, as previously mentioned, ITIL addresses enterprise architecture. Specifically, it identifies IT architecture management as a process that involves EA. While this is a small inclusion, it does open the door for further involvement from EA, which is one of the recommendations from Forrester.

How to integrate EA processes with ITIL

Forrester specifically identifies four additional processes where EAs can add value to their organization’s ITIL deployment. Within the service design process domain, EAs should become involved in the following:

Service catalog management – IT services are generally well known and documented, but that is not the case for business services, which tend to be company and business specific. In his report Integrate EA with ITIL Service Portfolio Management, Peyret writes that “EAs can add value to this process by establishing fit based on architecture description, dependencies and risk of technology components. They can also validate alignment with road maps, including service specific road maps, and identify opportunities for cost reduction (through reuse) or quality improvement.”

Service catalog management also offers EAs an opportunity to increase connections between enterprise architecture and infrastructure and operations. To this end, EA leaders in SMBs should consider serving as their organizations’ service catalog manager. “There is a potential synergy between the EA role and the role of service catalog manager in terms of understanding business needs and the IT assets that support these needs,” writes Peyret.

IT risk management – Similarly, Peyret writes that EAs can help their organizations with IT risk management by “reviewing designs, checking architecture alignment and proposing risk mitigation strategies.”

Within the service portfolio management process domain, Forrester recommends that EAs become involved in the following:

Strategic service assessment – EAs can help with “architectural assessments, technology assessments of dependency and risk, cost-reduction opportunities and alignment with roadmaps,” writes Peyret.

Strategic planning – “The architecture team should link service strategic planning, EA road maps, and IT strategy and planning,” writes Peyret.

Conclusion

ITIL v3 specifies a limited role for EAs in service portfolio management. But many organizations can benefit from the value EA offers beyond what ITIL specifies. By including EA’s view of the business in service catalog management, IT risk management, strategic service assessment and strategic planning, organizations can further their ITIL deployments.

This was first published in May 2011

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