After the successful implementation of ARIS IT Inventory at multiple customers, we want to give some feedback and insight into specifics that should be considered when preparing or implementing ARIS IT Inventory.
What is ARIS IT Inventory again? ARIS IT Inventory is a browser based solution that enables a user to update and maintain information on business applications and technologies in a wizard driven user interface. The objective is to provide a large user base of system owners with a tool to easily but standardized update the application information without the need for ARIS IT Designer or training for graphical modeling. The application is directly integrated with ARIS Business Publisher. For enhanced usability IDS can configure for a client what application information is presented and editable as well as how it is presented and structured. As part of our Enterprise Architecture Implementation Phase this solution provides great value and capabilities to an established IT Architecture customer.
What it is not? ARIS IT Inventory is not a replacement of ARIS IT Architect or Designer. The focus for this solution is maintenance of the existing applications portfolio by using existing artifacts from the ARIS repository. At the moment you can not create any new artifacts in ARIS using IT Inventory. But you can create new relationships between your business applications and other IT elements to artifacts that already exist in your application, information and technology architectures. This is clearly the first thing that will be asked by new clients and should therefore be remembered.
Another point to make here is that fact that you have to have data in your ARIS repository in order to use ARIS IT Inventory. Remember it reuses existing data! Therefore you have to establish the IT Architecture first, for example by initial uploading of information from an Excel import report. IDS Consulting Services can help you with that task in case you are not yet at that point. After that ARIS IT Inventory will be a single point for your organization where information is added or maintained.
ARIS IT Inventory provides a high degree of configuration from how to navigate the application information, to the way it is organized and displayed, and to the security settings defining various levels of access. On the other side it relies on well structured data from the ARIS repository. To ensure that proper information is provided and to be able to define customization requirements the customer needs to have IDS IT Architecture best practices in place and also a good understanding of the ARIS meta-model and standards. This task is also supported by IDS Consulting. They also bring the necessary knowledge for the initial ARIS IT Inventory set up and configuration.
The next thing to remember is that ARIS IT Inventory allows a large number of users to edit a wide range of application information. Therefore the overall governance process for the application architecture must be established. For example you want to avoid conflicts for data that are maintained in the ARIS repository vs. what is edited in ARIS IT Inventory. Who is allowed to change what information and where, is one of the things that should be clearly defined.
Again new architecture elements can only be added in ARIS IT Architect or Designer. That is actually a good thing. But the process of how to request, enter, populate, update and distribute applications should be specified as part of the overall EA governance project or specifically for ARIS IT Inventory. You can also consider here to deploy the new ARIS Governance Engine in support of this process.