ITIL and EA are not the same thing

GCN has an interview with Malcolm Fry, who’s considered the “father” of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). Fry says that “ITIL is, to some degree, enterprise architecture”. But as Wikipedia accurately describes, ITIL is a set of service management best practices. It’s got nothing to do with describing the performance, business, services, technology, and data structures that support an organization. It’s everything to do with process and nothing to do with architecture.

I will certainly concede that the tools that support ITIL (change management databases, incident reporting systems, etc.) realize some elements of an EA but they aren’t the EA itself.

There’s enough confusion about what EA is without this kind of muddying-the-waters. I’m by no means an EA expert but I know enough to see that claiming “ITIL is EA” is complete hooey. It’s like saying that CMMI is EA — total nonsense.

I hope to investigate ITIL in a bit more depth in coming weeks. It originated in the UK and I suspect it can be well applied here in the US to fill in the gaps between the PMBOK (which describes how to run an IT project organization) and CMMI process areas (which describe how to conduct systems integration work). Has anyone got experience in mapping these against each other?

3 responses to “ITIL and EA are not the same thing

  1. I can’t help but agree with the first point in this article. ITIL is not purely about Enterprice Architecture. In fact ITIL can be used in smaller businesses, not just enterprise level organisations.
    As for mapping ITIL to CMMI; in my experience it can be done, but there isn’t a direct correlation between the two frameworks so it can be difficult to map cleanly.

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