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IT4IT modernizes IT and increases business value

Managing IT isn't just about the right software or skills. The IT4IT reference architecture identifies the problems and offers a path forward.

IT seems a perpetual yet essential headache for many businesses. The Open Group thinks it has a way to propel IT into the future, while also making it more valuable to the business.

The Open Group, an IT standards consortium, released IT4IT for Managing the Business of IT -- A Management Guide, showing organizations how to manage IT using the IT4IT reference architecture (RA). In this guide, Rob Akershoek, a solution architect at Royal Dutch Shell, outlines the common IT management challenges in detail and explains how the IT4IT RA can tackle each one of those issues, with co-authors Erik Witte of UMBRiO and Etienne Terpstra-Hollander of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

"Initially, it was an architectural solution," Akershoek said of how the idea evolved into the IT4IT architecture guide. The IT41T RA grew from information for the IT architecture community into a broader IT operating model for IT organizations within businesses, IT outsourcing companies, cloud providers, service providers and large vendors.

"Being able to portray IT activities in the context of business and having a vocabulary to talk about it with lines of business is valuable not just within the IT organization, but as the IT organization talks to other parts of the company," said Dave Lounsbury, CTO of The Open Group.

In chapter 2.2, "IT Management Challenges" excerpted below, Akershoek laid out the wide range of challenges posed by IT management:

The IT organization will need to change its IT operating model in such a way that more and more (if not all) services need or can be consumed as market services from the cloud. An increasing number of organizations have defined cloud as the primary delivery method. This again creates new challenges to the IT organization, specifically related to the orchestration and collaboration with an ever-growing number of external service providers to ensure end-to-end delivery to the business. This requires the IT organization to adopt an additional role, one of a service broker.

Akershoek sees the IT4IT RA as a way to use the data that an IT shop collect on its internal processes, data that historically has been collected but not applied to increase IT efficiency and target problem areas. He referred to it as big data for the IT organization.

"It's difficult for [IT] to get data for decision-making in IT," he said. "For example, they don't know which application to invest in because they don't have a good understanding of the application, how well it's performing, what it's costing, its business value, so there is not that much transparency today."

The adoption of agile development and DevOps IT models results in more releases, changes and events, generating even more system-level data to examine. Learn more about common IT management problems and a model for how IT should evolve in this full chapter excerpt here.

Editor's note: This excerpt is from IT4IT for Managing the Business of IT -- A Management Guide, authored by Rob Akershoek et al, published by Van Haren Publishing, Copyright 2016 The Open Group.

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This was first published in March 2016

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