The Open Group IT4IT Reference Architecture standard (http://www.opengroup.org/IT4IT) is focused on defining, sourcing, consuming, and managing IT services by looking holistically at the entire IT Value Chain.

The IT4IT Reference Architecture provides prescriptive, holistic guidance for the implementation of IT management capabilities for today’s digital enterprise. It is positioned as a peer to comparable reference architectures such as NRF/ARTS, TMF Framework (aka eTOM), ACORD, BIAN, and other such guidance.

IT4IT1

Provides prescriptive guidance on the specification of and interaction with a consistent service model backbone (common data model/context)
Embraces and complements existing process frameworks and methodologies, (e.g. ITIL®, CoBIT®, SAFe and TOGAF®) by taking a data-focused implementation model perspective, essentially specifying an information model across the entire value chain
My Perspective on IT4IT
  • Firstly, IT4IT is a horrible name. There is a risk of setting the wrong tone with your business and IT leadership just with the name.
  • This concept isn’t new in any way. This is a rebrand of “ERP for IT” that as a concept has been around for over a decade and hasn’t gained any traction and there is no evidence that this won’t gain traction as well.
  • IT4IT doesn’t explicitly define the specific business outcomes that will be derived from the needs and motivations of a company’s business units that should drive the IT organization. This is an example of a lack of leverage of the Gartner business outcome driven research.
  • It concerns me that this is a reinvent of what is already well defined and industry accepted best practices. Instead of going into the “think tank” I would expect inspiration and integration from other standards like ITIL, COBIT, Val IT, TOGAF, and many others for the detail build upon the detail in IT4IT.
  • It isn’t clear that the business goals and objectives are clearly understood before focusing on the generic relationship models that could lead to IT being costly, time consuming and potentially damage the reputation of IT.
  • IT4IT is a version 1 standard for the Open Group with clear gaps. The most critical area, “Strategy to portfolio” has significant gaps. In the visual are an example set of capabilities (see in green) that are missing that can also be in the guidance from Gartner but also “tried and true” methods like ValIT and COBIT:
IT4IT2
  • If IT4IT is going to be used it will need to have the ability to be automated by many of the ERP and Service Management tools in the market however since there isn’t a well-defined information model (ERDs, detailed taxonomy, canonical models, etc.) that links these concepts together in a meaningful way this may be a show stopper.
  • IT4IT looks to be an “all or nothing” framework given it’s tightly coupled concepts. This can cause significant damage to IT organizations that have a semi to well defined IT environment with automation tools. Organizations must consider their your entire environment before investing in an entirely new set of IT concepts, definitions, approaches, relationships, and deliverables for the following reasons:
    • The IT investments you have already made and the models that they have already defined will require replacement, modification, or retrofitting into the new model.
    • A well-defined architecture for your IT environment will be required to ensure long term continuity
    • If your IT suppliers don’t embrace and support IT4IT this may require significant customization of your IT environment which will balloon IT costs unnecessarily.
  • I would expect that since this is in the “Open Group family” that there would be a much richer set of linkages to existing Open Group standards (ex: TOGAF or Archimate) at a minimum but also to other industry standards such as COBIT, ValIT, PMBOK or ITIL. Instead there is a high-level conceptual view (see below) of the interactions instead of explicit linkages.
IT4IT3
  • IT4IT tends to look at the “business” of IT as an IT problem, it is not, it’s a business problem. IT is a tool to deliver business value. Contrast IT4IT materials with works within another forum to get more of a business angle on this. See TBM Council (http://tbmcouncil.org/)
  • Recommend reviewing the TBM Council. They are also driving for robust solutions that address the strategy, planning, execution, and financial reporting of their IT environment.
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