South African companies can now optimise their IT team’s value delivery, with the recently-released IT4IT Reference Architecture Version 2.0, launched by The Open Group in October 2015.
The IT4IT Standard was created by members of The Open Group: the global vendor-neutral IT consortium aimed at furthering adoption of open architecture, as well as creating standards such as TOGAF, an Open Group standard.
It is essentially a blueprint for a vendor-neutral reference architecture and value chain-based operating model.
It provides the structure and tools for organisations to manage their IT function as if it were a business in its own right. It focuses on the IT function’s end-to-end value chain, to enhance efficiency and agility.
Within the IT division itself, the IT4IT Standard improves the arrangement of the unit, and its alignment with business strategy. Ultimately, this translates into increased relevance for IT, enhanced service delivery, and the footing to be able to grab new opportunities presented by advancements in enterprise IT.
Stuart Macgregor, CEO of The Open Group SA, notes the IT department is continuing its evolution from simple support service, to becoming the keystone in a firm’s digital transformation strategies.
“As this evolution continues, the concept of running IT like a business becomes increasingly relevant. The IT4IT Standard gives you the tools to manage IT as a business, to demonstrate value, and accelerate the pace of innovation and transformation.”
The four value streams of the IT4IT architecture align to the classical model of ‘plan, build, deliver and run’, but modernises these to become ‘plan, source, offer and manage’. This fundamentally reframes IT as a strategist, and a broker of services – empowering the organisation with the latest and greatest in the fields of cloud, mobile, social and big data.
Currently, the ‘broken link’ in IT’s value chain is the lack of standards at a lifecycle level. With this in mind, the IT4IT architecture is designed to fit harmoniously with the process-level standards delivery (for example, ITIL, CoBIT, eTOM, ISO).
The IT4IT Reference Architecture also helps manage the complexity associated with trends like increased automation; connected sensors and machine-generated data; Cloud-hosted applications, storage and processing; and new principles like Agile, DevOps, rapid prototyping, and continuous delivery.
The IT4IT Standard was developed over a period of roughly four years, based on real-world case studies.
“This makes the IT4IT Standard a highly practical and useful framework,” notes Macgregor. “The IT service delivery issues facing organisations are often remarkably similar – so the framework is broadly applicable.”
The Open Group IT4IT Forum already features a stellar line up of blue-chip organisations, responsible for maturing the framework over time. These include HP, Shell, AT&T, Accenture, PwC, Capgemini and BP.