EAM Services Catalog

A foundation for better EA decisions

Companies, analysts, enterprise architects, and stakeholders often perceive and interpret enterprise architecture management differently. This means that no common foundation exists upon which different approaches can be compared and assessed. However, without such a foundation, companies will find it difficult to determine their EA maturity level and identify the areas where action needs to be taken. In addition, existing services cannot be fully exploited because their benefits have not been communicated to the various departments and units in a sufficiently clear manner.

In workstreams such as “Accessible EA” and “EA Repository Integrations,” CBA Lab was able to show that EA accessibility depends heavily on the degree of service orientation and the integration of the most diverse sources of information. The “EAM Services Catalog” workstream set itself the goal of building on these findings in order to create a catalog for EA services that can serve as a basis for a maturity level analysis and the further development of EAM. In addition, the service catalog should make it possible to facilitate communication of the EA services that already exist at a company, and also make it easier to access these services. “We want to be able to more precisely define what we’re talking about,” says Workstream Coordinator Hannes Schleibinger, Enterprise Architect at MTU Aero Engines.

The first thing the workstream members did was conduct research in order to find out how EA services are defined in the relevant literature at analyst firms such as Gartner or Forrester, for example. They then used a web-based whiteboard to collect topic and idea proposals, and they also compared the EA services that have already been established at their companies. In addition, they incorporated definitions from standards like TOGAF and ITIL/ITSM, as well as best practices from the areas of IT service and UX design. “We took a look at which services there are, which ones we actually use, and which appear to be the most useful,” Schleibinger explains. The workstream was able to get business information systems expert Dr. Stephan Zimmermann from Technical University of Applied Sciences Augsburg to review the results. “That gave us additional valuable input,” says Schleibinger.

With the catalog, we ensure that we are all in fact talking about the same things – both within an organization and when information and ideas are exchanged with other companies.
Hannes Schleibinger
Workstream Coordinator

It quickly became clear that the descriptions of EA services differed greatly in terms of depth and the degree of detail involved. The next step therefore was to agree on a service template that can be used by all companies as a basis but at the same time allows for individual adjustments in line with a company’s specific conditions and circumstances. As a result, the workstream team decided to use a two-step approach: Along with a fundamental classification of all the services into different categories, the idea was to make available a detailed description of each service that could then be used as a type of information base.

With regard to categorization, the workstream members were able to make use of their experience. One company, for example, had divided its EA services into five activity fields and it then presented a report in one of the workshops on its experience with this. Another company had used the plan-build-run model as the basis for the definition of its service categories and, thanks to its many years of experience with the provision of EA services, it was able to present the advantages and drawbacks of this approach in detail.

The benefits are key

The work conducted in the workstream showed that the communication of potential benefits plays a key role in the acceptance of EA services. That’s why the workstream used typical questions posed in this regard as a basis to define and present the benefits of each service. “In order to establish a common foundation for implementation, every service description also includes detailed information on what the EA team has to offer, as well as information on what the commissioning department or unit will need to do to ensure smooth and effective cooperation,” Schleibinger explains. According to Schleibinger, categorization based on the plan-build-run approach makes it possible to understand the relationship between each service and the company strategy and organization: “This means that every user knows at all times where they are, so to speak,” says Schleibinger. Pictograms are also used to provide a quick overview of which stakeholders are affected, what type of feedback (if already received) customers have provided, and what type of effort and expense is needed/arises when the services are used. Finally, each template has information on versioning and the contact person responsible for the service in question. “As a result, everyone at the company knows which services EAM provides, who they can contact regarding a specific service, and what the procedures are for using the service,” Schleibinger explains. “This ensures transparency and ultimately benefits both enterprise architects and the people who use the services.”

33 services in six categories

The EA Services Catalog created in the workstream has six categories and a total of 33 services (see the figure). The categories are as follows:

  • Analyze/Strategize
    Among other things, the seven services in this category are used to determine and benchmark the EA maturity level at a company, develop EAM, business and IT strategies, and manage the project portfolio in a targeted manner.
  • Transparency & Reporting
    This category has five services that mainly address the documentation of actual and target states, reporting on EA decisions, and support for IT security, data protection, and risk management.
  • Plan & Consult
    The five services in this category help with the development of an architecture to the point where the target state is achieved, after which a roadmap can be created on this basis. The services are also used to analyze technical feasibility and verify this feasibility within the framework of a PoC. In addition, the services can be used to support the creation of a new company site or the implementation of a merger or acquisition.
  • Guidance & Governance
    This category brings together nine services that relate to enterprise architecture principles, standards, and roles. The services also provide recommendations for implementation and identify architecture enablers.
  • Tooling
    The three services in this category are used to ensure the availability of EA tools, to continuously adjust the tools in line with stakeholder requirements, and to support stakeholders when they use the tools.
  • Communication & Training
    This category has four services that involve training and knowledge sharing, the establishment of internal and external EA communities, and the planning and implementation of EA communication activities.

Workstream summary

The catalog that was created establishes a solid foundation for the use and further development of EA services in business organizations. “Companies can use the catalog to determine their EA maturity level and define the next steps to be taken,” says Schleibinger. “This is very valuable, in particular for those companies that are in the process of establishing an enterprise architecture. However, the catalog also presents new approaches and ideas that can help organizations that already have an established EAM system in place.” In addition, the catalog can help clarify the role EAM should play at a company and what goals and targets should be set for EAM. Says Schleibinger: “One workstream member, for example, decided to use the catalog as a basis for formulating a service statement in order to clearly present and explain the meaning and purpose of EAM at their company.”

According to Schleibinger, the service categories defined also expand possibilities to make comparisons: “With the catalog, we ensure that we are all in fact talking about the same things – both within an organization and when information and ideas are exchanged with other companies.” In addition, the catalog can improve cooperation with stakeholders and increase the demand for the services offered: “In the future, I’m going to provide more information within our company about the EA services we offer, and this can be done very effectively using the catalog,” Schleibinger explains.