cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Understanding the relationship between a CMDB, portfolio management, and enterprise architecture

Understanding the relationship between CMDB & Enterprise Architecture.jpg
7023
1

CMDB, portfolio management, and enterprise architecture are all individually capable of bringing significant value. When used in combination, however, they are all strengthened. These solutions can be the beginning pieces of creating a more holistic view of the enterprise.

 

To level-set, let's first define these solutions, according to Wikipedia:

  • A Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is an ITIL database used by an organization to store information about hardware and software assets (commonly referred to as Configuration Items [CI]). This database acts as a data warehouse for the organization and also stores information regarding the relationships among its assets. The CMDB provides a means of understanding the organization's critical assets and their relationships, such as information systems, upstream sources or dependencies of assets, and the downstream targets of assets.  A CMDB is limited because it lacks advanced reporting features, this is where IT portfolio management takes over.
  • Portfolio Management is the application of systematic management to the investments, projects, and activities of enterprise Information Technology departments. Asset lifecycle management helps companies focus on the most important identifiers to indicate business impact, financial value, and technology strategy. An IT portfolio management tool must have advanced reporting capabilities like lifecycle and impact analysis.
  • Enterprise Architecture (EA) is "a well-defined practice for conducting enterprise analysis, design, planning, and implementation, using a comprehensive approach at all times, for the successful development and execution of strategy. Enterprise architecture applies architecture principles and practices to guide organizations through the business, information, process, and technology changes necessary to execute their strategies. These practices utilize the various aspects of an enterprise to identify, motivate, and achieve these changes.  An EA tool should help the enterprise strategically link the information obtained in the CMDB and ITPM solutions to populate the EA repository for more advanced reports, diagrams, features, and functionality.

 

Use CMDB to populate a portfolio management tool

If you're starting (or re-starting) an enterprise architecture practice, then you're probably focused on gaining quick wins to demonstrate value and build momentum. To accomplish this, it’s essential that the architects have reliable data, and the first goal should be to establish that trust-worthy single source of truth. While it’s possible to begin building a common repository from scratch, that can become time-consuming, and you run a risk of falling behind. With proper tooling, however, there are easier ways to begin populating your repository.

 

One way to populate the repository is by importing spreadsheets full of data about business capabilities, infrastructure, applications, and technology. If you trust that data then you can absolutely use it, but some (perhaps most) companies aren't able to keep that list up to date (it is common for that data to become unreliable or incomplete over time). If you're using a CMDB the data stored there should be used. This is a great way to populate the repository quickly and to begin pursuing quick wins.

 

Because a CMDB contains data about hardware and software it is a natural fit with the lifecycle and impact analysis-focused IT portfolio management solutions. Without portfolio management, a CMDB is little more than a glorified spreadsheet because they lack the business value that portfolio management does so well. The CMDB is more closely related to operations whereas portfolio management should help with the overall strategy.

 

Combine all three to realize greater value

A modern CMDB should contain features and functionalities like software discovery tools, the CMDB technology database itself, as well as service and change management.  Portfolio management enlightens the database with information about the lifecycle, business value, and financial impact. It provides a view that the business can actually use. Information gathered in the CMDB doesn't usually have much meaning for the business. Finally, enterprise architecture and the tooling itself should aid the strategy and bring about greater Business-IT alignment, well-defined technology standards, project roadmaps, and reference architecture models.

 

To summarize, the CMDB is an operational tool that can jump-start the data collection for your repository, the portfolio management solution helps you to rationalize and make sense of your portfolio, while an enterprise architecture tool helps drive the strategy.   An enterprise architecture practice can prepare the company for continuous change and embrace an agile approach. Enterprise architecture becomes an asset to manage the complexity of your business transformation. 

 

Quick Tips

  • If you're in the beginning stages of establishing an EA practice, then this combination will greatly reduce time to value.
  • The start of an EA initiative may sometimes take a long time because the EA repository has not been populated yet with IT assets.
  • By using an architecture repository, the EA team can begin to gain influence as the information they gather and analyze in the repository has value to stakeholders across the entire business and IT.
  • Ideally, there is an integration point between these solutions to keep all of your systems up to date. The HOPEX platform can help you do this. 

The purpose of this short article is to help discern the high-level differences between CMDB, portfolio management, and enterprise architecture. As you can see, each of the three solutions has their own value, but when you share the data and insights from each solution you're left with something greater than the sum of its parts; a more holistic view of your assets and how to strategically bring about change and innovation.

7023
1
Comment

CMDB, portfolio management, and enterprise architecture are all individually capable of bringing significant value. When used in combination, however, they are all strengthened. These solutions can be the beginning pieces of creating a more holistic view of the enterprise.

 

To level-set, let's first define these solutions, according to Wikipedia:

  • A Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is an ITIL database used by an organization to store information about hardware and software assets (commonly referred to as Configuration Items [CI]). This database acts as a data warehouse for the organization and also stores information regarding the relationships among its assets. The CMDB provides a means of understanding the organization's critical assets and their relationships, such as information systems, upstream sources or dependencies of assets, and the downstream targets of assets.  A CMDB is limited because it lacks advanced reporting features, this is where IT portfolio management takes over.
  • Portfolio Management is the application of systematic management to the investments, projects, and activities of enterprise Information Technology departments. Asset lifecycle management helps companies focus on the most important identifiers to indicate business impact, financial value, and technology strategy. An IT portfolio management tool must have advanced reporting capabilities like lifecycle and impact analysis.
  • Enterprise Architecture (EA) is "a well-defined practice for conducting enterprise analysis, design, planning, and implementation, using a comprehensive approach at all times, for the successful development and execution of strategy. Enterprise architecture applies architecture principles and practices to guide organizations through the business, information, process, and technology changes necessary to execute their strategies. These practices utilize the various aspects of an enterprise to identify, motivate, and achieve these changes.  An EA tool should help the enterprise strategically link the information obtained in the CMDB and ITPM solutions to populate the EA repository for more advanced reports, diagrams, features, and functionality.

 

Use CMDB to populate a portfolio management tool

If you're starting (or re-starting) an enterprise architecture practice, then you're probably focused on gaining quick wins to demonstrate value and build momentum. To accomplish this, it’s essential that the architects have reliable data, and the first goal should be to establish that trust-worthy single source of truth. While it’s possible to begin building a common repository from scratch, that can become time-consuming, and you run a risk of falling behind. With proper tooling, however, there are easier ways to begin populating your repository.

 

One way to populate the repository is by importing spreadsheets full of data about business capabilities, infrastructure, applications, and technology. If you trust that data then you can absolutely use it, but some (perhaps most) companies aren't able to keep that list up to date (it is common for that data to become unreliable or incomplete over time). If you're using a CMDB the data stored there should be used. This is a great way to populate the repository quickly and to begin pursuing quick wins.

 

Because a CMDB contains data about hardware and software it is a natural fit with the lifecycle and impact analysis-focused IT portfolio management solutions. Without portfolio management, a CMDB is little more than a glorified spreadsheet because they lack the business value that portfolio management does so well. The CMDB is more closely related to operations whereas portfolio management should help with the overall strategy.

 

Combine all three to realize greater value

A modern CMDB should contain features and functionalities like software discovery tools, the CMDB technology database itself, as well as service and change management.  Portfolio management enlightens the database with information about the lifecycle, business value, and financial impact. It provides a view that the business can actually use. Information gathered in the CMDB doesn't usually have much meaning for the business. Finally, enterprise architecture and the tooling itself should aid the strategy and bring about greater Business-IT alignment, well-defined technology standards, project roadmaps, and reference architecture models.

 

To summarize, the CMDB is an operational tool that can jump-start the data collection for your repository, the portfolio management solution helps you to rationalize and make sense of your portfolio, while an enterprise architecture tool helps drive the strategy.   An enterprise architecture practice can prepare the company for continuous change and embrace an agile approach. Enterprise architecture becomes an asset to manage the complexity of your business transformation. 

 

Quick Tips

  • If you're in the beginning stages of establishing an EA practice, then this combination will greatly reduce time to value.
  • The start of an EA initiative may sometimes take a long time because the EA repository has not been populated yet with IT assets.
  • By using an architecture repository, the EA team can begin to gain influence as the information they gather and analyze in the repository has value to stakeholders across the entire business and IT.
  • Ideally, there is an integration point between these solutions to keep all of your systems up to date. The HOPEX platform can help you do this. 

The purpose of this short article is to help discern the high-level differences between CMDB, portfolio management, and enterprise architecture. As you can see, each of the three solutions has their own value, but when you share the data and insights from each solution you're left with something greater than the sum of its parts; a more holistic view of your assets and how to strategically bring about change and innovation.

1 Comment
MEGA

Great stuff Nick - thanks!