EA for IT Governance

How EAMS helps align Business needs and IT efforts

Start with a flexible IT Catalogue. At first sight, IT Catalogues seem to just require simple solutions, but the truth is that in most cases they lack the necessary flexibility and become the center of misunderstandings between the Business, Information Systems and Infrastructure perspectives.

Standards as TOGAF, considers two types of applications: Infrastructure and Business Applications, but this is a very simple classification schema that does not address fundamental issues in IT management. From an IT and Business alignment point of view, a spreadsheet holding data and business rules is a Business Application, as SAP ERP or any other SW package. But from a management and day to day IT operations they have little in common.

Another example comes from the fact that the business users know and use the names of applications in many contexts, as for example internal manuals, risk management and so on. This is a problem because it hard-wires a given software element to a set of functionalities and interface, removing a degree of freedom from IT management. For example, consider the case where the IT decides to provide access to applications via an intranet, forcing the business to revise documents and procedures. This kind of decisions should not be made more difficult just by the naming conventions. The situation is even worse if the application is named after the platform or software packaged used to develop the application.

The EAMS IT Catalogue supports three different perspectives of Applications:

  • In the Business Perspective, the Solution Concept is a logical aggregation of Business Functions provided by IT, thus Business Functions and requirements are managed independently of the components that implements them.
  • In the Information Systems perspective, the Application Concept, is an artifact in which are implemented Business Functions, thus allowing IS teams the flexibility on the better way to Engineer such components.
  • In the infra-structure perspective, the Platform Concept is an execution environment of application components and that may include different types of Technologies.

Such off-the shelf configuration of EAMS Application Catalogue has many advantages, that are fundamental to support effective IT Governace:

  • Business people are able to manage solutions independently of how they are supported by underlying Applications. For example, if the Business decides to manage different sub-sets of functionalities of a given Solution differently, it can split the Solution into two Solutions and assign a budget and a responsible to each one. This is a decision that is independent of how the IT decides to support both sub-sets, if under the same Application or in different ones.
  • IT can build Applications mostly driven by a constructive and engineering rationale, since constructive elements such as repositories, integrators and core applications are kept hidden from Business Areas and from the functional aspects that drive them. For example, changing Applications or a Platform that supports a given Solution does not require changes in the way business refers to IT.
  • Asset Management is easier. While applications are assets (code and data) that are unique and with a roadmap decided by the organization, platforms are off-the-shelf software whose evolution is decided by the suppliers, completely out of the organization’s control.
  • Knowledge Management is also easier. Whereas Applications embody organization specific knowledge (code and data) that must be protected and maintained at organization expenses, knowledge about standard platforms is something that is readily available on the market and can be contracted if needed.

The advantages of such approach have been presented at Industrial Track of the CAiSE 2012 conference, and published by Springer.

On top of such flexible Catalogue, EAMS cartographic capabilities highlights the dependencies with business, both current as well as foreseen dependencies, according to transformations expected to be delivered by the project pipeline. IT Transformation is another big chunk of IT Governance, and is addressed in its own section.