Skip to main content

EA and IT Service Management


EA and IT Service Management


I completed my USA trip with a visit to the EA team at Miami University.  For the uninitiated (as I was), don't confuse this with the city in Florida: Miami University is in Oxford, Ohio, and takes its name from that of the local Native American tribe.

The EA team at Miami is newer than the other teams I visited on this trip.  Still, they have managed to achieve quite a lot in the few years of their existence.  Their CIO has tasked them with mapping the current state of the five domains (Business, Information, Applications, Infrastructure and Security) and they have made good progress with this.

Their Enterprise Architect chose to use simple tools for this task.  By using Google sheets to collect data, they could crowd source much of the information, getting input from the staff within each org unit who know the details of which applications are used to deliver which capabilities.  This had a secondary effect of publicising the work of the EA team within the University and giving people some sense of involvement.

They have also written some PHP and AngularJS scripts to give simple graphical views of this information.  The following example shows the three levels of business capabilities for Learning, with each level three capability mapped to the central IT applications that support it.


I was particularly interested by the way the team are integrating EA with the ITIL service management initiative. They have entered capabilities into their Configuration Management Database (CMDB) so that they can map ITIL services to business capabilities.  The applications are already in the CMDB, of course, so the mapping of applications to capabilities can also be represented in the CMDB.  The CMDB also has entries for each interface between applications, with links to more information on the EA web site.

I’d like to know more about how to relate ITIL services to EA business capabilities.  It would seem that an ITIL service should represent a business capability, which would imply that the ITIL service catalogue should ideally be a subset of the business capabilities captured by EA.  At Edinburgh, our service teams are finding it challenging to decide which services should be represented at which level of our ITIL catalogue.  Perhaps EA techniques might be able to help.

Comments

Dana Miller said…
Miami is also the the name of a two rivers (Great Miami and Little Miami) that flow into the Ohio River on either side of Cincinnati.

Here is a link to our modeling spreadsheet:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1OSW3lu5aykFQOMEuAuhbY_F4METOuDVK5cWUbTzzhRI/edit#gid=61762854

Which can show you how we attempted to map capability to service.

The next steps are to map the capabilities to services and service to technical applications in the CMDB with the goal to visualize the relationships between capability, service, application and tickets.

Popular posts from this blog

Changing Principles

In EA, architecture principles set a framework for making architectural decisions.  They help to establish a common understanding across different groups of stakeholders, and provide guidance for portfolios and projects.  Michael Durso of the LSE gave a good introduction to the idea in a webinar last week for the UCISA EA community.

Many organisations take the TOGAF architecture principles as a starting point.  These are based on the four architectural domains of TOGAF: business, information/data, applications, technology/infrastructure.  These principles tend to describe what should be done, e.g. re-use applications, buy in software rather than build it, keep data secure.  See for example the principles adopted at Plymouth University and the University of Birmingham.

Recently though, I encountered a different way of looking at principles.  The user experience design community tend to focus more on how we should do things.  E.g. we should start with user needs, use iterative developm…

Why the UCISA Capability Model is useful

What do Universities do?

This may seem a strange question to ask and the answer may seem obvious.  Universities educate students and undertake research.  And perhaps they work with industrial partners and create spin-off companies of their worn.  And they may work with local communities, and affiliation bodies for certain degress, and they definitely report on their activities to government bodies such as HEFCE.  They provide student services and support.  The longeryou think about it, the more things you can think of that a University does.

In business, the things that an organisation does are called "capabilities", which is a slightly strange term.  I think it is linked to the HR idea of a combination of the CAPacity and ABILITY to do a task.  Whatever the name, it is a useful concept.  A capability is more basic than a process: a University may change the way it educates students but as long as it remains a University it will educate them one way or another.

A capability …

"No more us & them"

WonkHE recently posted an interesting opinion piece with the title Academics and Administrators: No more ‘us and them’. In that post, Paul Greatrix rebutted criticisms of professional services (administrative) staff in Universites from some academics. To illustrate his point, he quoted recent articles in which administrators were portrayed as a useless overhead on the key tasks at hand (teaching and research).

This flows both ways, as Greatrix himself points out. As Enterprise Architect, I work with Professional Services colleagues and I have heard some of them express opinions that clearly fail to understand the nature of academic work. Academics cannot be treated as if they were factory workers, churning out lectures on a treadmill.

I think these comments reveal a fundamental clash of ideas about how a University should work. Some people who come into management positions for other sectors tend to frame the University as a business, with students and research funders as customers t…