Friday, December 14, 2007

Using ITIL for SOA Governance

I attended the HP Software Universe in Barcelona late November 2007. And I was struck by a new insight.

All those people were talking about the life cycle of IT services and how to monitor the complex and interrelated compositions of infrastructural components to guarantee continuity.

Service Life Cycle

To explain my insight let me start with the service life cycle, on which SOA governance is founded.

There is the service strategy, where - among others - the market and the market value of the service is determined. The service portfolio and ownership must be managed and there must be a financial model to deliver and maintain the service.

Then there is the service design, where solutions are developed in terms of architecture, technology, people and processes. Processes are developed with regard to service catalog management, continuity, security, service levels and more.

The service transition includes processes like change management, configuration management, releases, planning en testing.

Finally service operation has to be governed with focus on keeping services running. This includes for instance incident mananagement, problem management and access management.

All of the above are aspects of SOA governance, aren't they? And this is exactly the scope of ITIL v3!


Where ITIL focuses for many years by definition on IT services, the term IT services can easily be replaced by "business services" or "application software services". The top level of the configuration tree in ITIL is the application. But as (IT oriented) SOA decomposes applications into service configurations and business processes are being composed out of autonomous business services within the Service Oriented Architecture domain, the governance model of ITIL can be stretched to SOA governance. With SOA the tree doesn't have to stop at the application level anymore.

Tool integration

Besides one uniform and well defined governance strategy for business-, application- and infrastructure services, there are more huge benefits to pulling ITIL in a SOA-context. These are the ITIL oriented tools.

UDDI service catalogues and BPM metadata-repositories could be merged with the Configuration Management Data Base (CMDB), which makes it possible to extend the infrastructure monitoring tools through the level of business services in an SOA and combine them with BAM tools. (BPM=Business Process Management; BAM=Business Activity Monitoring)

This integration allows for an overall end-to-end insight of the total business process till the ultimate detail level of individual infrastructure components by one single view.

E.g. the impact of a broken router can easily and instantly be traced up to multiple business process instances. Such as the violation of a specific delivery agreement with a specific business customer (if not repaired within a certain limit of time). And in case of a serious delay (agreed MTTR, Mean Time To Repair) the service desk can automatically inform the customer, offering a discount for inconvenience to keep her happy. All without any manual interference.


This exactly matches the philosophy of BTO (Business Technology Optimization), an emerging business philosophy to manage IT resources as a business rather than as a service bureau. Information Technology is rapidly changing to Business Technology: IT is no longer supporting the business, but IT is the business.

Merging SOA governance - in all aspects - with (e.g.) ITIL might even turn out to be the first crucial step toward competitive business survival in the currently manifesting revolution to a world ruled by intellectual capital based on the ultimate availability of knowledge.

"The picture"

"Simplified overview of the components stack to be governed"


Happy Tom said...

Welcome To My SAP BLOG

Happy Tom said...

Welcome To My SAP BLOG

Enoch Root said...

I like a few of your statements, namely "E.g. the impact of a broken router can easily and instantly be traced up
to multiple business process instances." but also disagree w...ith some, eg ("IT is no longer supporting the business, but IT is
the business."). In my opinion some can be done to approach the two on some phases of the service life cycle, but SOA IS IT FOR SERVICE and in a much broader sense ITIL IS IT VALUE FOR SERVICE, hence my disagreement on the first statement above...