Home > Uncategorized > What do Services Mean for Enterprise Architecture?

What do Services Mean for Enterprise Architecture?

More than 60% of organizations plan to begin ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) v3 adoption by the end of 2010, with Service Operations and Service Design typically coming first. While ITIL v3 incorporates the Service Support and Service Delivery processes laid out in ITIL v2, it reorganizes and adds to these in a service lifecycle approach designed to align processes to business outcomes. This emphasis on service management leads some organizations to blend applications and infrastructure offerings into services that are managed more like product lines than technology stacks. This raises the question of the role of architecture in a service management model. How does the enterprise architecture mandate change in a world oriented around services?

We think the answer is not yet clear, but during our research into the changing IT-business interface, we have seen organizations involve architecture at three levels:

  • Business architecture: The first step towards defining and enhancing services is to understand business needs. The focus at this stage is on articulating business objectives and capabilities-not what business partners specifically want from technology or the IT function. In this capacity, business architecture is the starting point of the service management model, and is increasingly owned by business partners. The outputs of business architecture-phrased in business, not IT terms-enable the design of improved IT service definitions and service economics to meet business needs.
  • Enterprise IT architecture: A clear understanding of business capabilities-and areas where centralized, standardized technology best meet business needs-drives the definition of IT services. Enterprise architecture addresses design across IT services to achieve business goals.
  • Service architecture: Service managers own the operation and continuous improvement of their services. Organizations architect both the evolution of each individual service and the necessary solutions within the service, taking into account both applications and infrastructure impacts.

The open questions revolve around the interaction between enterprise architecture and the architecture for each service. Will enterprise architecture lay out a roadmap for the services to follow, or does it become primarily an aggregation role, consolidating the architectures defined by service managers and addressing any duplications or contradictions?

Have you implemented a service management model? How have you allocated these architecture roles among the enterprise architecture team, service managers, and business partners? Please share your thoughts with us as we explore the evolution of the IT-business interface.

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