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




By Joshua Brusse


Last November, the Open Group ratified the IT4IT reference architecture, a new standard for managing enterprise IT. Basically, a number of large IT organizations came together to outline what competencies you need to be able to manage your IT in an era defined by cloud and mobile.

HP was active in helping to define the reference architecture, and in HP Software Professional Services, we’ve been applying many of the underlying ideas for some time. IT4IT gives enterprise IT a valuable new way of evaluating and managing itself.

While it marks an exciting step forward, IT4IT refocuses IT on different competencies. It means IT must do things differently. For that reason, IT4IT is going to have an impact on an organization’s people. It’s going to require a cultural shift.


Organizational change and IT4IT
One of the areas I focus on in my work with customers is around leadership and best practices in the management of organizational change (MOC). Leaders in organizations that embrace IT4IT will need to think about its impact on people and how they’re going to lead people through transformation.

Let me explain a little bit about cultural shifts. In the past, IT looked at siloed competencies like incident or problem or change or release management (even though this has never been the right way to look at these in the first place). The New Style of IT is forcing us to look at IT the right way: a combination of the competencies in a value chain. This means the traditional siloed mentality is something that really needs to be addressed.


For instance, to respond quickly to business needs you want to put DevOps in place. But DevOps is only going to be DevOps if you break down silos. In HP Software Professional Services, we emphasize going beyond process-centric thinking and looking instead at value chains. If you are trying to implement DevOps, you could talk about value chains like “Requirement to Deploy,” “Strategy to Portfolio,” and “Request to Fulfill.” But following the value chain concept, isn’t enough alone. You still must create relationships and engagement. You need to make sure people are talking to each other, know each other, understand each other and have empathy for each other. In other words, make sure people are working together across the competencies as one big virtual team. This is a huge cultural change.


IT4IT and the path to maturity
Siloed thinking—in which people separate themselves into different groups like Dev or Ops—is counterproductive to the whole concept of IT4IT.


There is another cultural change required when embarking on the IT4IT journey. Currently many IT organizations are still internally focused. They’re focused on siloed competencies that will fix internal issues that do not have a huge impact on business outcomes, like incident management, problem management, service management, and so on. But that focus is no longer required to the degree it was before.

Instead, we need to look from the inside-out, instead of outside-in and focus on value streams and their inherent competencies that will support business outcomes such as agility, competitiveness, and value. For instance a company should want to look at portfolio management and ask, “How do I do that?” Or, look at business engagement management and ask, “How do I do acquire or improve this competency?”

The benefit of thinking in terms of this new IT4IT approach built on value streams and competencies is that it becomes easier to evaluate strengths and diagnose problems. This approach is very helpful for CIOs. With IT4IT, I can go to any CIO and ask, “What are your three biggest challenges or opportunities right now?” I can then consult the reference architecture and tell them, “You cannot achieve this because the immaturity of this competency, this competency, and this value chain prohibit you from doing so.” We can then have a meaningful conversation around those value chains and competencies and assist the customer to be more successful more quickly than before. IT4IT is a much more directive way of helping organizations become more mature.


To learn more about the importance of managing change as IT shifts to a new model, read the Frost & Sullivan report, Helping IT Transform: The Rise of Organizational Change Management Services.


Joshua headshot.JPGJoshua Brusse is Chief Architect, Asia Pacific and Japan, HP Software Professional Services. He writes frequently about leadership, management of organizational change, cloud, and IT Service Management. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaBrusse.




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Hi Joshua, should the statement around focus really read: "we need to look from the inside-out, instead of outside-in?" Seems to me that focus on value chains, outcomes, and cooperation, means outside-in, not inside-out.


Additionally, you mention that looking at IT as "a combination of the competencies in a value chain" is "the right way." Do you have any references that would substantiate that claim? The notion of value chains isn't new, and it is my understanding that the "Business Process Redesign" efforts from the '90 has not given us substantial confirmation that a focus on value chains provides a "definitive answer" to the question on how to be successful.





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