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IT4IT: Should we be talking about overall business value instead of value streams?


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When IT4IT launched in October 2015, I thought we'd see the same multi-year adoption and evolution we saw with such concepts as Agile development and DevOps. Instead, I've been surprised at the rapidity with which IT leaders have not only embraced the idea, but bring it up themselves in our discussions.

Where IT4IT can challenge people is in the details. The concept of four value streams and a whole value chain–based reference architecture can be too granular for some. Not everyone needs to know about Detect to Correct or Request to Fulfill in order to derive huge benefits from IT4IT. 

But if we take away these abstractions, we’re left with the essence of what IT4IT can do for customers. Really, it boils down to four things that can be universally applied to anything that IT is trying to deliver for the business:

  • Faster delivery
  • Better quality
  • Lower cost
  • Stronger security

At any given time, for any given project, application, or service, one of these might be your biggest problem. I'm finding that IT leaders recognize that as they deal with escalating pressures to be faster, better, cheaper, and more secure, IT4IT provides a structured, standardized way to always think about—and deliver—business value. You can see a great discussion of how HPE and IT4IT have helped Shell increase innovation and value in this video:


IT4IT creates a value-oriented culture

A big benefit of IT4IT is that it helps create a culture where people understand how their work contributes to the business overall.

I’ll give you an example of that kind of value-oriented culture. At my previous employer (a global bank), pretty much every IT individual could in some way describe how what they did facilitated the running of the bank. You might've been a server engineer, you might've been a storage consultant, you might've been a project manager, but you'd always be able to explain what you did in terms of what difference you made to the bank.

So you knew that if you put in an upgrade on a network over the weekend and you didn’t execute it properly, someone might not be able to take money out of the ATM on Monday morning. And as a result, one of the bank’s competitors might pick up some of your customers. That’s the type of culture that IT4IT supports, because it provides that end-to-end value framework.


Mapping IT to business priorities

If you’re a senior IT exec, IT4IT helps you think about how IT supports business priorities: Do those business priorities align to the CIO’s priorities? Are they immediately relatable? Put another way, IT4IT helps the senior IT team discover whether they can actually be successful in delivering value to the business with the current strategy.

But IT4IT also helps you look downward within your IT organization. How are each of the functions and capabilities at the next level down performing? Are they themselves delivering value, or are they disjointed? Do they support one or more of the strategy components for IT?

Whatever aspect of the IT hierarchy you look at, IT4IT helps you connect IT to overall business goals.


Evolving the IT4IT approach

At HPE Software Services, work we've done in the last few months has shown that clients are really engaged when we talk about IT4IT explicitly. This tells me that we're going to see a rapid, transformative change to how IT organizations approach not just their reference architecture—which is a big thing in itself—but how they think of IT's role as a value-adding organization within the enterprise.

At this point, every IT leader should be trying to understand his or her organization's priorities. Is the biggest demand on IT right now to deliver faster, or is the primary sticking point today quality, or cost, or security? From there, we can ask how IT is delivering on that. The answer will always be, “Not as well as we'd like,” and the next step is going to be to look at how IT4IT can help you get there.

To learn more visit our website about the IT4IT Value Chain. Or check out this video how HPE and IT4IT have helped Shell increase innovation.


Craig Alexander is an IT4IT strategy consultant for HPE Software Services. Follow him on Twitter at @CraigTransform or connect with Craig on LinkedIn.


Related links:

HPE Software IT4IT Consulting Services

Blog post: Want to get started with IT4IT? Pick any IT pain point

Blog post: IT4IT and the path to continuous service innovation

Blog post: IT4IT: Why the new way of managing IT requires a cultural shift

Blog post: Why do you need IT governance? So you can stop adopting the wrong solutions

About the Author


Shirish Choudhari

Good to see IT4IT capturing the grounds


How do you sell this idea to business? Do you work through senior IT management, or do people from HP and IT build the business case together and present it "as a team" ?


Great to see IT4IT getting adopted quickly. It has always been challenging to clearly articulate the business value generated from IT. With clearly defined value streams, IT4IT will definitely helps in bridging that gap.

Stuart Crann

It makes a lot of sense. Not sure how we are going to implement within an MSP, but it has a lot of promise.


Good to see that HP is focusing on root level impelmenatation.


Hi AndriyR,

We can adopt both a joint or singular approach to "selling the idea" to a customer. Typically we introduce the concept of IT4IT and how it and HPE's expertise can help deliver value to a customer's business; this is normally at C- or C-1 level. With the concept discussed (and hopefully accepted!), this then leads to a more in-depth discussion with a broader, nominated group of stakeholders on the specific areas which could benefit from an IT4IT approach and therefore deliver business value and/or remove business pain early and often to the customer.

We have customers who can unilaterally accept the approach and commence a transformation journey based around our IT4IT Advisory service. We also have customers who first require a level of validation internally before taking things forward; this is not unusual and we provide the necessary support to these teams as required.

Let me know if you need anything further.


Ann Mary Joseph 17

Good to see IT4IT capturing the grounds


@ Stuart Crann - from an MSP perspective, their focus must be on the business outcomes, not the technology or resources they will deploy to deliver those solutions. Moreover, the successful promotion by the MSP and adoption by the customer of IT4IT has the additional benefit of allowing the customer to extend the use of IT4IT for its wider IT organisation to establish a consistent basis for service delivery and therefore business outcome achievement.


Given all the change and turmoil surrounding HP in the press are you going to be able to sustain your position with IT4IT?

Suggestions in Forbes and others HP SW is next in the pile for sell off and or merger close behind HPE ES who I assume are leaders in deploying IT4IT being part of the same company (today).

IT4IT is a great imporvement to / compliment of ITIL and finally helps ITIL become recognised as a framework and not as all to often promoted the answer to the ultimate question.

Without conistent support / promotion from the big players, like HP or HPE (potentially endangered by way of sell off / merger) how does IT4IT contininue to thrive? I can see through reading there are others in the space, not as forward and willing as HP seems to be to carry IT4IT flag.

Interested to hear how you see the future


Interestiong point of view.

Nikunj Bambharolia

great read


Promising start.. Way to go.

Robert Kern

Excited to see IT more alligning to the business ... also it is a needed step and natural evolvement to keep up with business and market needs.


Looks promising, excited to learn more about this concept


Very nice Article Craig, i had the pleasure of working with craig and is one of the smartest minds around IT4IT. well said about the fact that this is about the business value than value streams. 


IT4IT (in my opinion) is brilliant ... I have even gone on record as saying so


How do you best communicate the organizations priorities down to the invidivual level?



Many thanks for the question. Well since your post HPE Software has been announced as spin merging into Micro Focus. This move should change nothing with regards to IT4IT as it is a core tenet of our offerings and given the industry uptake of the standard in the past 12 months I see no reason why that should change. We have enabled 100s of my colleagues in the standard and our approach over the past ferw months.

HPE is one of many well-known organisations supporting the standard and it will only go from strength to strength as other organisations see the benefits of talking IT value in business language.


Our approach brings in each level of the organisation and its necessary required communications via business dependency mapping techniques and related approaches to ensure that the important business pains/priorities are properly captured and any IT-related activity prescribed via IT4IT addresses those pains/priorities. The communication is then specifically tailored to the solutions, the pain and how they relate to each other plus makes sure that each involved/impacted teams/individuals understand their own roles in the solutions.

Thanks both,


Erik van Busschbach

You ask an interesting question - not sure there is one universal answer.

But, one observation is we often find that people love talking about the how-to and architecture side, but without having a clear answer on "why?", "why now?" and "why should I care?" questions. In other words - having a sense of urgency and understanding the need for change.

I often point people to the 'golden circle" as a great refernce to start thinking differently when trying to quesion you post.

Recently Tony and I did a keynote at The Open Group, emphasizing the critical importance of talking business value (and not - just - about architecture).

Let us know your thoughs!


Nice poin of view. 

Flavio Bianchi

Looks promising, excited to learn more about this concept

Phil Ran

Great to read the progress being made.

Mukesh Patel

I think this is a future and vey promising start.

The Rookie

As a student it's interesting to see and learn the connection between IT and Business. Understanding the relationship between the two is an asset in any company.

Mark Laird

Will be really interesting to work this through especially as the government pushes more and more for 'Plug and Play' MSPs

J Flanders

I'm now looking for informaiton on "Requirement to Deploy". I'll assume that is R2D?


Good read but not sure how to sell/ implement mainly in the case of small business. 


Looks promising.

Way to go...

Raymond Meijer

The four points raised:

  • Faster delivery
  • Better quality
  • Lower cost
  • Stronger security

are very important in any organisation these days. One cannot afford to stay behind.

Jarel Hanson

Excellent article.



sounds interesting. 

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