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IBM EA method and IT Inventories June 27, 2008

Posted by Chris Eaton in EA, IT Architecture, methodology, methods.
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I have been thinking some more on the difference between the IBM Enterprise Architecture method and TOGAF. In the IBM EA method there is an strong emphasis on maintaining an IT Inventory. This seems oddly absent from TOGAF altogether. An IT inventory maintains a record of what applications you have, what technology they run on, the functions they perform and often financial data is attached to them too.

Understanding what applications and IT you have today in some form is crucial to making decisions for many reasons – to understand total costs, to enable you to identify and sunset applications which perform duplicate function, to have a total picture of what applications you have in the first place, to identify other IT rationalisations like server consolidation.

In IBM internally the company wide application inventory is also used to track all IT projects both in flight to deliver something an upgrade to an existing application and projects which will deliver something entirely new. This is really the centerpiece to tracking projects and the current application inventory and scheduled upgrades it takes a more holistic view than just what is live now, you can also extrapolate what the application looked like in the past, and because it tracks in flight projects you can see what the inventory will look like in the future if all the project deliver on time.

I wonder why TOGAF has a gap here it is such a powerful tool for analysis and communications. The IBM solution is custom built, are there any software applications out there to maintain an IT inventory?

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Comments»

1. adrianrgcampbell - August 4, 2008

An Inventory implies a simple list.

On the other hand TOGAF describes the building of various Enterprise Architecture MODELS, including the Applications Architecture model.

This Application Architecture model is the equivalent of an IT inventory that lists the applications you have.
A model is a richer kind of view, that includes a visualisation of the Applications and their relationships.

One EA tool that focuses less on models and diagrams and more representing the Application Architecture as simple lists and tables is PlanningIT by Alfabet – http://www.alfabet.de/

2. Fred Collins - January 27, 2009

IBM added support for the IBM EA Method in System Architect. The support provided in SA includes macros that generate all the IBM EA Method work products.


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