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Today’s enterprise faces disruption to the status quo on all fronts, driven by digital transformation, which is challenging how IT is organised and managed.
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The role of IT in the business has transformed into an enabler that drives innovation, enhances competitive advantage, boosts productivity and reduces costs by applying technological solutions.
However, innovative technologies, such as big data and the cloud, can only be of value to the business if they can be properly implemented and managed. IT leaders realise that current IT operating models no longer address the new role of IT in the business, and that the IT function needs to reinvent itself. A fundamentally different approach is needed for how we plan, build, deliver and run IT today.
Historically, there are many best practice guidelines, frameworks and standards for operating IT. But they have been evolved from an IT service model and not with IT’s new central role as a business enabler in mind. To reinvent IT, CIOs must go beyond current process-based approaches and equip their teams with the right information and tools to support new ecosystem collaborations, completely automate end-to-end workflows and provide the business with the controls to govern IT.
To address this problem, the IT4IT Reference Architecture standard with its value chain-based IT operating model, has been developed and will be maintained by an alliance of experts from major IT consumer organisations, IT suppliers and academic institutions, through The Open Group IT4IT Forum.
The IT4IT standard is a supplier-neutral open standard that provides a prescriptive and detailed information model-based framework for managing the business of IT. It builds on traditional process-based frameworks and standards such as information technology infrastructure library (ITIL) and ISO/IEC 20000 for IT service management.
While other frameworks and standards place emphasis on process, the IT4IT Reference Architecture focuses on the capabilities and information needed to manage a service through its lifecycle. It defines how the IT function can be supported by information systems automating the IT activities, as well as providing the necessary insight to improve IT decision making and support continuous improvement.
Improving the business of IT
As “IT for IT” implies, it refers to the internal activities and relationships in the IT function of an enterprise, and how it relates to the business’s goals. It is about improving the business of IT by using it as effectively as the business does.
Using the standard enables optimised IT resources – particularly IT management information systems – together with more efficient and controlled IT operations.
These IT-related results translate into benefits for the enterprise in terms of improvements to the financial bottom line, a reduced risk profile and competitive positioning.
Read more about digital transformation
To support the implementation of the standard, The Open Group IT4IT Forum has developed the IT4IT Management Guide to provide insight on how the IT4IT Reference Architecture can be best used in an IT function to manage the business of IT. It is designed to provide a guide to business managers, CIOs, IT executives, IT professionals and all individuals involved or interested in how to transition the IT department to become a lean and agile IT service provider.
The guide has been designed to help readers understand how the IT4IT approach can improve the performance of the IT function and better support the business. Readers can also gain a high-level overview of the vision, scope and content of the IT4IT Reference Architecture, with guidance on how to begin implementation of the IT4IT standard in their own IT operation.