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What is the IT4IT™ vision?

The IT4IT vision is a vendor-neutral open standard Reference Architecture and value chain-based operating model for managing the business of IT.

What is the mission of the IT4IT™ Forum?

The mission of The Open Group IT4IT Forum is to develop, evolve, and drive the adoption of the IT4IT Reference Architecture.

Why does IT need the IT4IT™ Standard?

The IT4IT Reference Architecture provides prescriptive guidance to design, source, and manage services in a business value chain-based framework called the IT Value Chain. Organizing around the IT Value Chain professionalizes IT to the level of other key departments in the business such as Finance, Supply Chain, etc. The data-driven IT4IT Reference Architecture enables insight for agile improvement that brings an increased IT focus on business outcomes.

How can I obtain a copy of the Standard?

The IT4IT Reference Architecture standard can be downloaded from The Open Group web site. The full set of IT4IT related publications is available from this link.

Is the IT4IT™ Standard a process model?

No, the IT4IT Standard is not a process model yet it is complementary to process models. It is an information model based on the concept of an IT Value Chain and supported by the IT4IT Reference Architecture all for the successful management of the business of IT.

What are the IT value streams?

The IT4IT Standard breaks the IT Value Chain down into four (4) value streams to help consumability and adoptability of the IT4IT Reference Architecture by IT organizations. Each value stream represents a key area of value that IT provides across the full service lifecycle. The four (4) IT value streams generally align to what IT traditionally calls “Plan, Build, Deliver, Run”. However, adopting an IT Value Chain-based model can transform IT into an agile, proactive, and cost-effective broker of services to the business better able to leverage leading-edge technologies such as Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data. This transformation reinvents Plan, Build, Deliver, Run to be modernized into “Plan, Source, Offer, Manage”.

How is this any different to ITIL?

The IT4IT Reference Architecture and ITIL are complementary. ITIL is a process and capability-based framework that provides best practice guidance for IT Service Management. The IT4IT Standard provides an information (data-driven) model and reference architecture that offers prescriptive guidance across IT management. The IT4IT Standard provides a foundation upon which best practice-based process models like ITIL may run.

How is the proposed IT4IT™ Standard different to an IT service development model like Waterfall or Agile?

The IT4IT Reference Architecture is agnostic to an IT service development model. It covers the end-to-end service lifecycle not just the “Build” portion. The “Build” or “Source” portion of service delivery can be done using any development methodology the organization deems appropriate by service. The IT4IT Reference Architecture establishes which key data artifacts and the relationships must be managed and maintained throughout the service lifecycle – including during the “Build” or “Source” part of the Requirement to Deploy value stream – in order to have the service transparency and business insight that IT and business leadership require.

How is the IT4IT™ Reference Architecture related to the ArchiMate standard?

The IT4IT Forum uses the ArchiMate modeling language as a tool to express the IT4IT Reference Architecture and has represented all of Level II including the relations between IT Capabilities and the IT4IT Reference Architecture underpinning functional components and artifacts. However, please note that it is not in the scope of the IT4IT Standard to be normative around process models. We are only identifying the service endpoints to those capability and process models using ArchiMate models.

What are the origins of The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum?

Passionate Enterprise Architects and IT strategists from different verticals, customers, partners, and vendors collaborated to form a Consortium to build out a new IT management framework to professionalize IT and run IT like a business. All participants realized that their organizations had spent a lot of money and time building architectural models to fill a gap in IT management that they over time realized was not part of their core competitive advantage in their unique lines of business. Instead, all agreed that a value chain-based architecture model should become part of the very foundation of how all IT departments should run IT. After much dissension, challenge, and just plain hard work and long hours over at least two years, the Consortium settled on a draft value chain and reference architecture for IT that became the content adopted by The Open Group that you now see being enhanced by The Open Group IT4IT Forum.

How will the IT4IT™ Standard help solve modern problems being addressed by Agile and DevOps?

It is relevant to Agile and DevOps in the following ways:

  • Provides a standard reference model for a DevOps toolchain
  • Identifies the queues typically found in the managed IT environment, facilitating greater visibility into work-in-process
  • Provides a means for reconciling Kanban with traditional process frameworks
  • Provides a mapping of SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) concepts into traditional project and portfolio management

Why do you promote that the IT4IT™ Standard will be a game-changing foundation for IT?

We believe that it delivers value in many ways. A IT department run on the IT4IT principles and framework will reap large rewards in cost savings and automation that frees up resources for IT innovation for the lines of business. Leveraging standardized data artifacts and relationships will form a foundation for Big Data analytics and business insight that were not possible across the IT value chain before. IT departments – especially those that act as integrators to multiple suppliers – benefit from removing costly, time-consuming, and error-prone discussions on implementations by eliminating the “how?” discussion at the start.

What metrics or data could I leverage if I used the IT4IT™ Reference Architecture that I don’t already have?

The IT4IT Standard will address Systems of Insight. Today you may have set up detailed manual methods for defining, for example, your service metrics and KPIs. To do this you have managed the integrations to your various data sources in order to report on those KPIs. In other words, you know the questions you want to ask and you set up the tracking to get those answers. Using the IT4IT Standard as your data foundation, two benefits will emerge: 

  • Using an open standard model to describe the key IT data artifacts makes integrating data sources and reporting on your services easier and standardized.
  • The standardized information model of the IT4IT Reference Architecture supports new Systems of Insight.

You can also get answers to new questions or to those you did not know to ask based on the Big Data opportunities like trends and other analytics that can most easily be driven from a standardized information model.

How will the IT4IT™ Standard help me with better managing my multi-sourced IT?

It addresses the complexity of managing separate organizational entities to deliver services and improves IT’s ability to manage suppliers and evaluate or access their data sources across the service lifecycle to drive for transparency in, and quality of, business insight. Establishing the IT4IT Reference Architecture as the standard that your suppliers must meet removes lengthy discussions of “how” to integrate and makes the on-boarding and off-boarding of suppliers, faster, easier, and more cost-effective on both sides.

How would I adopt the IT4IT™ Standard in my organization?

Your starting point is usually at your greatest pain point and then mapping that area back into the IT Value Chain and IT4IT Reference Architecture. Many customers will start by doing an “as is” versus “to be” exercise where they map their current architecture and tools against the IT4IT Reference Architecture and quickly identify application and infrastructure redundancies and gaps to prioritize for resolution. This leads to identifying and seeing opportunities for automation within the IT value streams between IT functional components and artifacts. The prescriptive guidance provided by the IT4IT Standard will accelerate these automation projects.

If we already use ITIL, how do I explain to my management how we might also benefit from using the IT4IT™ Standard?

ITIL offers a reasonable statement of requirements for finer-grained IT management processes. However, ITIL moves directly from the highest-level concept of the Service Lifecycle to its 25 granular processes. The IT4IT Standard will provide an important middle ground by defining the major value streams of Strategy to Portfolio, Requirement to Deploy, Request to Fulfill, and Detect to Correct. ITIL furthermore leaves many ambiguities in how to implement and execute an end-to-end IT management capability, especially in terms of process integration.

Many times ITIL process owners are not aware of their adjacencies nor their place in the value stream to support an IT Value Chain-based IT operating model. The temptation is to optimize the various ITIL processes locally. But wherever you are within an IT organization it is very important to understand your function in the wider value chain and your part in driving value for the business by measuring service outcomes to the business – notlimiting your work to doing continuous improvement on one IT process. Finally, because of its strong information model, the IT4IT service backbone will give you the basis to report out to the business on your services; for example, on where the problems/issues are in your service quality or delivery. By organizing your services and service delivery around the IT4IT service model and information model, you get the value for your IT leadership.

Who is involved in The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum and how can my organization get involved?

Members of the IT4IT Forum include Enterprise Architects and IT department leaders or industry consultants from Accenture, Achmea, Architecting the Enterprise, Armstrong Process Group, AT&T, ATOS, BP, Capgemini, HP, IBM, Logicalis SM, Microsoft, Munich RE, Origin Energy, PwC, Royal Dutch Shell, UMBRiO, and University of South Florida.

Nearly all of The Open Group IT4IT Forum founding members have work-in-process to rationalize and align areas of IT with the support of their IT Executives and some are leading transformation efforts based on the forthcoming IT4IT Standard to change their IT to become more like a Service Broker to the lines of business.

If you are interested in helping to develop, evolve, and drive the adoption of the IT4IT Reference Architecture, then you can find out more about joining The Open Group IT4IT Forum here.