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IT4IT and the path to continuous service innovation


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The IT4IT reference architecture was just launched by the Open Group in November. This is an operating model for managing enterprise IT. The reference architecture itself may be brand new, but in HP Software Professional Services we’ve been working with the underpinning ideas for a long time. In fact, we’ve been leveraging IT4IT in the service offerings we build, such as solutions for service broker, DevOps, and cloud. All are grounded in the IT4IT reference architecture.


If you go to the Open Group site and look at the materials on IT4IT, you’ll see it’s built upon a standard for holistically managing IT. Instead of process silos, it looks at the entire IT Value Chain and the four key activities within it (plan, build, deliver, and run). This is the same approach we’ve been taking with customers for several years now. Our point of view has been that you need to look at IT end to end so that you can deliver better value to the business and reach what we call continuous service innovation. But reaching this state requires a significant shift in how IT operates, and makes having a blueprint like IT4IT so critical.


How IT4IT addresses the shift in enterprise IT

Why is the IT4IT reference architecture significant, and why have we integrated it into our solution offerings? It helps to look at the shift taking place in enterprise IT today. In the past, IT was a technology enabler for the business. Today, IT is the business to a large extent. Technology has enabled people to be more connected with each other, exchange information more easily, and create great new ideas and new business models quickly. But the consequence is that IT needs to actually fulfill those new ideas and bring new offerings to the market. It needs to create new services to enable the lines of business to capture those consumers better, faster, and with lower risk than ever before. IT can do this only from a point of continuous service innovation.


So how do you make this real? The fundamental shift that is happening in IT is not about technology. It’s a change in mindset. We need to shift from a project-centric mindset to a consumption- or service-centric mindset.


Here’s an example. If a bank is looking for a new application service, how can IT fulfill that? Traditionally you would say, “Let me do a project.” But a new way would be to say, “A banking application requires a payment backbone. Is that something my organization) is uniquely positioned to do, or could I source something like that in the market? Where is my unique added value? Where can I source the standard components for this?”


The three pillars of continuous service innovation

The shift from project-centric to service-centric is essential to reaching continuous service innovation. The first element in getting there is to broker services. You don’t want to build a database. You want to consume it.


The second element is to accelerate solution creation. For the things you can’t broker, you need to build something. But you only do that where you can add value. You want to focus on the consumer experience and the system of engagement. You want to focus on getting to know your customers better by focusing on the system of insight. You can do this by adding Big Data intelligence into the application so you capture your customer behavior better. But you must accelerate building this new solution, which is why DevOps is so critical.


The third element is to consume components at a lower level, in other words, PaaS and IaaS. You want to consume whatever is possible so that you optimize your cost structure.


Brokering services, enabling DevOps, and delivering infrastructure as a cloud provider: Take these three elements together and you get a closed loop value chain. That’s how you deliver value to the line of business. The IT4IT reference architecture offers the blueprint for getting there, and that’s why our solutions are grounded in it.


To learn more, visit the HP IT Service Strategy website or read the ebook: Value streams: a user centric model for the enterprise CIO.


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About the Author


Martin Kirk

Please note that the current status of The Open Group IT4IT™ Reference Architecture is currently what we refer to as a Snapshot, i.e an interim publication of a work-in-progress. Formal publication of the first release of the approved Techical Standard is currently planned for Q4 this year.


Martin Kirk, Forum Director - The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum

Jan 30-31, 2018
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