Know Your ITIL 4 Practice: Architecture Management

The concept of a service model is the base that withstands the rigor of service management. The architecture of services to its constituent components and dependencies is pure gold in the business of services.

The service model has been further expanded in ITIL 4 to include the mapping that exists across an organization and not just limited to services. Remember that services was at the center of ITIL earlier, and now with its digital expansion, every nook and corner is in scope.

From the ITIL Publication: The purpose of the architecture management practice is to provide an understanding of all the different elements that make up an organization and how those elements interrelate, enabling the organization to effectively achieve its current and future objectives. It provides the principles, standards, and tools that enable an organization to manage complex change in a structured and Agile way.

The architecture management practice is the first process under general management practices. It is placed under general management practices owing to its application. The practices constitutes 5 types of architectures.

A mature organization should typically plan for all the five architectures, as value can be delivered only when the structure within and outside is well known and managed by the strategy put forth by the wise people in the organization.

Business Architecture

An organization’s capabilities is put on a map along with the work they perform. For example, in a matrix organization you have various horizontal teams that represent a skill – be it big data, .net, database, cloud etc. And then there are organizations that aren’t really matrix where the talent is spread across projects and programs. So when you pull a map detailing the skills against projects and programs, you will know how skewed or aligned it is.

An organization would typically have a strategy that points its finger in a certain direction. The current structure is compared to the strategy to see the gap. As an activity of the business architecture practice, actions are undertaken to reduce the gap between the strategy and ground reality – which is the objective of this sub-practice.

Service Architecture

A service architecture is another term for a service model which maps the services to the application and infrastructure that are its constituent components. A smaller slice of a service model is referred to as a Configuration Management Database (CMDB), and an organization can consist of any number of CMDBs – which are a part of a Configuration Management System (CMS).

Information systems architecture

The spread of information in an organization is captured in an information system architecture. The information could be physical or logical. As information today is gold, knowing exactly where the information is stored, how it is stored, and the security layers to protect the information is the core of this sub practice.

Technology Architecture

The various technology stacks employed by an organization – be it infrastructure or software are laid out in a technology architecture. This is a critical architecture to maintain as the design decisions rely entirely on this architecture as its pole star.

Environment Architecture

The factors that are external to an organization and yet can bear an impact are put together in the environment architecture. The impact to an organization’s strategy could vary depending on the external factors.

The environment includes developmental, technological, business, operational, organizational, political, economic, legal, regulatory, ecological, and social influences.

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