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The Little Known Story of How Hewlett Packard Sparked IT4IT(r) with ERP4IT


In my recent conversations about the process of IT4IT, I uncovered a mostly untold story within HPE that I thought was worth sharing on this forum. This is the story of how a small team of smart people at Hewlett Packard (HP) created a new approach to IT management which blossomed into an industry standard.

The time period for the story is about 7 years ago, and the team involved was the HP Software Consulting team; this team has now evolved into the HPE Professional Services team. The names of the individuals on the team are known. However, part of the magic of the culture at HP – and equally now at HPE – is that we are all about the team. This bias means that individual contributions and achievements are sometimes overlooked. Also, that stories like the one I’m about to relate, often don’t get told.

The story of how IT4IT emerged

Some 7 years ago several smart people in the HP Software Consulting team became aware of a general problem that existed within the customer environments in which they worked. Specifically, the problem they identified was the lack of a standard operating model for IT departments. There was no defined reference architecture. IT teams tended to manage to boxes – and to manage those boxes in silos.

In short: The work product of IT was not managed like a value chain, and was disconnected from the business as well as being disconnected across IT teams.

The teams at HP worked to define an IT reference architecture that they called ERP4IT, to support it with software tools, and to evolve it working with some of our more advanced customers. Notably, Shell worked in tandem with HP in those years to help push forward this notion of needing a model to govern the “business of IT” as it is sometimes also called.

Gartner was so impressed, they documented the expected benefits of the new approach for some of HP’s customers. Here’s what they said:

Gartner quote on ERP4IT.png

HP not only worked on the ERP4IT process, but also invested in creating software tools to help IT teams to implement the process more easily. These include HP LoadRunner, StormRunner, CODAR and more.

At some point, the people at HP realized that what they had their hands on could benefit IT better if not limited to a single vendor but if it were embraced and extended as an emerging industry standard. In short, it would be better for customers, and for IT practitioners, if HP released the intellectual property developed to make it freely available in the market.

Working with The Open Group, this is just what has occurred.

How The Open Group Responded

The Open Group has proven to be a perfect caretaker of the early work done. The consortium members embraced the early work done at HP on ERP4IT, further refined it working with their 400+ member organizations.

The result? In Oct 2015, the first truly open standard – IT4IT® version 2.0 – was publically introduced by The Open Group. This version is fully vendor-neutral, and strips away all of the HP-specific information which was present in the ERP4IT definition which precedes it. The fundamentals are all still there, though, which makes it great for teams that began with HP such as Shell.

In short, the industry has a fully developed and beneficial standard which is vendor-neutral and supported by a vibrant consortium of organizations working together in The Open Group. HPE benefits by having made a bigger impact for its customers, and having a head-start on helping them to implement this standard.

Why HPE for your IT4IT® partner – from consulting, and education to software?

The HPE people involved, are justifiably proud of what their efforts have brought about in the market. So, we just think it is right that if you are interested in IT4IT that you should be aware of this story.

For more information on this standard and how HPE can help you with consulting, software and education services to implement IT4IT in your environment, see our IT4IT® resource page.

For more information on the Education Services available for you and your teams, see our IT4IT® education portfolio page.

Also, we’d like you to consider these facts:

  • HPE practitioners remain the leading experts on IT4IT
  • HPE practitioners have more experience working with IT4IT and applying it to real-world IT environments than any other team could have – because we helped to originate the standard
  • HPE offers more software tools to help IT teams implement the standard
  • HPE offers better education on IT4IT than any other group – from inception, to deployment and to maintenance and management

What is the IT4IT® standard that emerged? How HPE experts summarize IT4IT

When it comes down to it, there are really only four types of activities that IT teams perform. There is a lot of complexity and activity under the covers of these areas, but it really does distill down to the following:

  • Detect to correct – D2C – which is the process that an IT team goes through when something breaks and needs to be fixed. More advanced teams proactively anticipate emerging problems and looming break-points, and prevent them. But, the general idea is the same: keep IT running so that the services provided are kept available for the business.
  • Request to fulfill – R2F – which is how an IT team responds when a new service is requested from the business. The IT team responds to the request, and determines everything that is required to fulfill that request with IT resources.
  • Requirements to deploy – R2D – which is how an IT team examines and prioritizes the requirements, and then selects and provisions the technology services required to meet them through deployment for the business.
  • Strategy to portfolio – S2P – which is how an IT team uses strategy plans to balance and broker a portfolio of services.
About the Author


25+ years in high tech in various roles that include Consulting, Channel Mgmt, Product Mgmt and Marketing. Technology areas include storage and data management, high availability, cloud and hosting, networking, and mobility/wearable technology for enterprise, SMB , and channel business. Industries include healthcare, financial services, ISVs, Service Providers and telecos.


This is great background material and a shining example of how our new company Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is working collaboratively with other major vendors and users to make significant improvements on how the "New Style of IT" is perceived, managed and run on behalf of the "New Style of Business"

On a personal note it is also encouraging to know that some great ideas can only have great strategic implications if the innovator is willing to share. In doing so, this makes the the acceptance and buy-in from the industry from both suppliers and consumers so much easier - everyone benefits!

From an education perspective, HPE are proud to be at the forefront, working together with The Open Group to deliver the certification around the IT4IT standard - we are ready, are you? Click the link for an overview IT4IT Awareness