SAM & Entity Relationship Management
By Rory Canavan
I had a strange flash-back to my uni days some time ago, and it was when I was attempting to deconstruct the nature of this discipline that I find myself in.
I was a long way off a model student on my University of Plymouth Computing & Informatics course. It was a heady mix of various IT disciplines, the idea being that you picked a discipline that appealed and used that to shape the direction of your final year’s study.
Systems & Business Analysis was the series of modules that spoke the most sense to me; and it was within these modules that we as student first learned about SSADM (Structured Systems Analysis and Design Methodology). The core nature of designing systems in this way was to identify the entities that required managing; recognising that they had lifecycles that needed appropriate management/ governance at their varying stages of life.
Why am I raising this trip down memory lane?
When I see organisations attempting to resolve the Gordian knot that is SAM, I often encounter a head-long rush into working out how to generate a compliance report with little to no systems or business analysis being applied to recognise, the entities that are comprised within SAM. As a consequence data is often hurriedly cobbled together with no consideration given as to how to generate such reports systematically; or what to do with those reports when they are generated. Furthermore, such skimming of due-diligence fails to address important tasks of identifying system or data owners:
A request is not a purchase;
A purchase is not an installation;
An installation is not a request.
But in our minds, it becomes all too easy to blend these 3 items together – don’t!! They are separate entities and should be treated as such.
If we can learn to plot the lifecycles of these three items, then SAM control becomes much, much easier.