Troux 2011: EA, ITSM, PPM, and CMDB Acronym Soup

This was a panel discussion with representatives from Forrester (I believe), Troux, HP, and CA. The text below is my attempt to capture the points made by the speakers, and do not necessarily constitute my own opinions on these subjects.

I didn’t capture the first couple of questions, but here’s a couple important points that I heard.

Don’t call things compliance reviews, call it a business capability review. As part of that response, the speaker also said that we want enterprise architecture to be driving change, identifying the things that need to be done, and then get feedback from the PPM and systems management tools to make sure that the intended business benefits are being delivered.

On IT planning… it is frequently a shot in the dark in a reactive mode to the business strategy because the planners lack the information necessary to have a well-aligned plan.

From this point on, I tried to capture the question and the panelist responses.

Q: How does EA joined with the ITIL/ITSM space deliver better business value?
CMDB provides much more granular information about assets, such as incidents, changes, etc. The combination of this operational data plus the data contained in an EA repository like Troux has the potential to create even greater value and decision support. At the same time, throwing a bunch of ingredients together doesn’t get you a cake. You need to have a good cook.

Q: How do you see the CMDB and the cloud working together?
Discovery, topology visualization, impact analysis are all still important things. Wherever the owner of that infrastructure is, there must be ITSM, and a CMDB. Trend in CMDB is toward real-time information.

Q: The goal is to establish PPM, ITSM, CMDB, and operationalized EA. What would my 18 month roadmap look like, or where do I start?
Forrester: Personal opinion is to start with the PPM process. How do we evaluate an investment, what kind of stages does it go through, what information do we capture about the investment? Then, now that the project is complete and we have an application, how are we tracking its business value, its alignment. Then, with a CMDB, what’s going on beneath the covers in the operation of that application.

Q: This question was on the relationship between business services in ITIL and the business capabilities in Troux.
The response was that this was a very symbiotic relationship, allowing business context to be brought into the operational side. Troux allows us to establish relationships all the way back up to a business capability, which may be very important to a change management coordinator.

Q: Understanding that CIOs are striving to integrate IT in the business, how successful can a CIO be with limited to no control over the IT budget?
The first panelist lamented at the whole notion of “integrating” IT into the business. IT is part of the business, period. The lack of governance mechanisms that allow us to make a correlation between all assets in the organization and the business constituents it supports has put IT in this position. Another panelist pointed out that companies that are stuck in the “utility provider” archetype really struggle to ever get out of that role and into a trusted provider or partner/player type of relationship.

Q: Oracle takes a very fast approach to EA, incumbents take a more managed approach. Is one better than the other?
So many EA teams try and fail. We have our own framework for fast-tracking EA, but it is quick and dirty. Taking your time, in general, sounds better.
Bill Cason of Troux added that if you don’t build sustainable processes, you haven’t added any value. A big part of EA’s job is to get something sustainable, regardless of how fast you build it. Management doesn’t have a lot of patience for EA today.

Q: How can software deployment integrate with EA, PPM, ITSM, and CMDB? Can it be really integrated?
The most interesting answer from the panelists was the one who said, “How can we do this without integrating them?” and went on to talk about the relationships between PPM and SDLC. Full blown PPM also goes back three years after the release and verifies that we actually received the business benefits we said we would back when the project was approved.

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