ITIL and Enterprise Architecture

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Both EA and ITIL are emerging disciplines that are growing in importance and impact.

Here are their basic definitions:

EA synthesizes business and technical information and develops information products and governance services to enable better decision making.

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) “provides a comprehensive, consistent set of best practices focused on the management of IT services processes. It promotes a quality approach to achieving business effectiveness and efficiency in the use of information systems. ITIL is focused on IT Service Management, which is “concerned with delivering and supporting IT services that are appropriate to the business requirements of the organization.” (ITIL IT Service Management Essentials, Pink Elephant)

To me, EA and ITIL are mutually supportive. Here’s how:

  • EA is a decision framework that provides for planning and governance. EA answers the question, what IT investment will we make?
  • ITIL is a service framework that provides for execution of IT services. IT answers the question, how will we support and deliver on the IT investments?

In short, EA is the discipline that handles the decision processes up to the IT Investment and ITIL handles the service management once the decision to invest in IT is made.

What are the considerations for EA and ITIL:

  • EA considers such things as return on investment, risk mitigation, business alignment, and technical compliance. EA focuses on business process improvement and new introduction of new technologies.
  • ITIL practices areas include such services as incident management, problem resolution, change management, release management, configuration management, capacity, availability, service continuity, service level management and more.

How are EA and ITIL similar in terms of requirements management and their goals?

Each seeks to understand the business requirements and satisfy their customers: EA for the requirements for proposed new IT investments and ITIL for the service required to support those.

Both disciplines are goal-oriented in terms of wanting to improve effectiveness and efficiency:

  • EA prescribes in planning, what are the right things we should we be doing (effectiveness) and in governance, how should we be doing them (efficiency) relative to IT investments.
  • ITIL prescribes in service delivery, what are the right service deliverables (effectiveness) and in service support, how we should be providing service support (efficiency).

While EA and ITIL are complementary, ITIL picks up where EA leaves off—after the IT investment decision, but before the service execution.

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One response to “ITIL and Enterprise Architecture

  1. >Andy, thank you for your paper. The contents have helped fill in gaps which I and a co-worker have had over the past couple of months.Roles for me and my co-worker in our IT group are ITIL coordinator and Enterprise Architecture, respectively.Again, thank you for such concise information on the subject of ITIL and EA. debby

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