Print Page   |   Sign In
Putting The Open Group IT4IT™ Standard to Work
Share |

Putting The Open Group IT4IT Standard to Work

By Linda Kavanagh and Dan Warfield


The Open Group IT4IT Reference Architecture standard has been adopted by a growing following of users, certified individuals and consultants.


Many people ask for specific examples of how to apply the IT4IT standard to deliver value. The Open Group IT4IT Forum – where interested members manage and extend the standard - has identified the following real-world use cases where users and consultants apply the IT4IT standard most often:

1.     as a software architecture for IT tooling

2.     as the basis for a capability map for enterprise IT management

3.     as the basis for an operating model for IT management

4.     as a Guide for IT Managers for standardizing interfaces and data architecture

5.     as a template for standard processes and data flows

6.     as a supporting metaphor for IT organizational improvement programs for IT tools/practices/etc.

7.     as a guide for IT vendors to standardize the interfaces and architectures of their tool offerings


Since the IT4IT Reference Architecture is an industry open standard, it is available for everyone to review, adopt and adapt freely, to improve the way you manage the flow of value through your IT department, perhaps starting with some of the above use cases.


A little history and context …


The IT4IT standard was conceived of more than eight years ago by a small group of European companies that saw the need for normative guidance to direct functionality and interoperability for large, multi-vendor IT management software portfolios.


Each had tried to create a tool orchestration and interoperability architecture themselves, at great cost. Lesson learned: Their solutions were very similar and, in fact, just the kind of thing that should be a general solution or standard, not proprietary or unique to one company.


Supported by HP Software, they worked together as a consortium to merge their individual efforts into a common model that could stand as a universally available normative standard for the industry. This effort resulted in IT4IT version 1.0.


At that point the IP was donated to The Open Group, an organization known for its management of several industry standards such as UNIX, TOGAF and others. The private consortium became the IT4IT Forum and their architecture evolved into the publicly available IT4IT Reference Architecture standard.


The standard continues to be managed by passionate industry thought leaders who participate in The Open Group IT4IT Forum to accelerate solving problems and creating opportunities within their own organizations.


As they develop new versions of the standard and extensions to the IT4IT Body of Knowledge, they are donating this work to the whole IT community.


A Quick Overview


The IT4IT Value Chain


At the heart of the early collaboration was an IT value chain-based reference architecture meant to provide a holistic view spanning and eliminating the silos found in a typical enterprise IT landscape.


It described the essential functions and a related information model, designed to enable continuous flow of end-to-end value in IT, as workflows from initial demand signals to deployed services and products.


Each data object in the information model is associated to a specific function (IT4IT functional component). Each functional component is contained in one of the four IT4IT value streams that comprise the IT Value Chain:



The Four IT4IT Value Streams of the IT4IT Reference Architecture, v2.1


 For more on the IT4IT Standard, download or print the set of IT4IT Reference Cards, for a quick overview.


A Practical Tool


Since its release, the IT4IT Standard and has helped practitioners at all levels: Leaders of large enterprise IT divisions, enterprise architects focused on the IT management domain, infrastructure leaders focused on efficiency and stability, and consulting firms at all levels.


You can find several case studies posted here.

One of the first and most common IT4IT use cases is IT tool rationalization.


Organizational silos in an IT management landscape routinely spawn a set of disconnected software tools. Over time, a large IT shop can acquire thousands of these, each with its own integration challenges and special skill sets.


Clearing out the jungle with a tool rationalization initiative provides many benefits such as:

·       controlling application sprawl

·       simplifying infrastructure

·       limiting integrations that are costly to maintain

·       expanding, consolidating or rationalizing after a merger, acquisition or divesture

·       instigating a review against new policies and eliminating apps or other infrastructure components that do not conform

·       reducing license and staff costs to repurpose funds towards innovation, digitalization or other initiatives that ensure competitive advantage.


The IT4IT standard both strengthens and accelerates any tool rationalization initiative by providing the framework to organize it such that maximum value is recouped.


As part of the expanding IT4IT BoK, The Open Group has published several freely available documents that provide how-to guidance to support tool rationalization initiatives:


·       A Step-by-Step Guide

·       A Case Study of modeling a transformation that consolidates six IT Request portals

·       A Downloadable Model for IT architects to use as the starting point for defining roadmaps



To learn more about the IT4IT Standard, The Open Group IT4IT member-led Forum that develops it, or how your organization can become a member, please visit




Linda Kavanagh – Director, IT4IT Forum, The Open Group

Dan Warfield – Managing Director, CC&C Solutions Europe, Ltd., and Chair of The Open Group IT4IT Forum Product Lifecycle Management standing comm
Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal