We see 2 major reasons to map the IT landscape of a company.
The first one is IT operations and service management, such as IT cost reduction and IT risk mitigation. To achieve this goal you obviously need to know what IT assets you have in your portfolio, what their lifecycle is and what investment and maintenance costs their operation generate.
The second one relates to business transformation. In this case you need to know where the company’s strategy is heading, what business capabilities and processes are critical to get there, what the timeframe is and, via impact analysis, on what IT assets the success of this journey depends.
Depending on the reason type above, means may differ. But there is a key component that certainly serves both ends: the CMDB – Configuration Management Database – within the IT Service Management Solution(s) in use in the company. Renowned software vendors like CA, BMC, HP, ServiceNow or EasyVista provide this component in their systems management offerings.
For IT operations, when properly used, CMDBs provide a dynamic, “near-real-time” view of IT assets, and help ensure the availability of IT systems and applications at optimized cost and risk to end-users on a day-to-day basis.
However, for IT strategists who need to transform the IT landscape, understand how to roadmap the future state based on business requirements and address longer term business cost and risk exposure, or, in short, encompass wider enterprise business context and challenges, well… the same CMDB, with its view of the current state of IT assets... falls a bit short.
The difference between the two above contexts is obvious: clearly different purpose and use case. Nevertheless, IT Service Management vendors' and Enterprise Architecture vendors’ messaging on the topic is to a great extent similar, using the same vocabulary to demonstrate an apparently equal value-proposition for IT Portfolio Management, saying in substance: “we can help you meet IT portfolio management challenges and conduct IT portfolio management programs”.
IT Departments and companies can get business value from the EA-CMDB synergy, but no IT Service Management vendor can deliver it alone: if you integrate your CMDB with an EA solution, you leverage the power of your CMDB to deliver tangible business value. We’re talking about strategy and business environment maps, visibility of critical business processes, and costs and risk information seamlessly linked to IT asset portfolios. What we’ve added is the enterprise context and created a complete business blueprint. The right solution can take IT strategists several steps further, with scenario analysis, IT portfolio Management and IT roadmapping, all enriching the business transformation “GPS” functions.
Just so you know, now: you can regard the CMDB as the edge of the IT Service Management Solution facing the business viewpoint, like a pier facing the sea… As such it is an end. But you can also regard it as the starting point of the business transformation journey when you “dip” it into EA to deliver business value. As such, it is a promising, business-outcome driven beginning - a ramp leading you up into enterprise evolution programs.