IT4IT – The Basics

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about IT4IT; posts on the Back2ITSM forum on Facebook, questions on our discussion boards and it was one of the main topics of conversation at the speakers dinner ahead of last month’s Service Manager Day event in Holland. Let’s get our collective ITSM geek on and take a look at all things IT4IT!

Basic Principles

According to the Open Group, the IT4IT Reference Architecture prescribes holistic management of the business of IT with continuous insight and control, enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™ across the entire IT Value Chain.

The Open Group IT4IT Reference Architecture standard comprises a reference architecture and a value chain-based operating model for managing the business of IT. It provides prescriptive guidance on how to design, procure and implement the functionality needed to run IT. The end-to-end, ‘how to’ emphasis of the IT Value Chain and IT4IT Reference Architecture also enables the state of services that IT delivers to be systematically tracked across the service lifecycle.


In other words, IT4IT is an operating model for IT to deliver value to the rest of the business. So far so reasonable, right? It is directly comparable to eTOM and BIAN models. The biggest question around IT4IT is “but doesn’t ITIL already do this?”. The answer is it depends. ITIL is a framework – it’s best practice and non prescriptive. IT4IT is an open standard, managed by The Open Group. It’s also free to use – what’s not to love right?

Why do I need it?

Lets face it; in IT we’re great at being reactive, fixing things, resolving Incidents within SLA, your basic superheroes saving the world. What we’re not so great is the long term stuff. Strategy, forward thinking and effective planning. Enter IT4IT which is aimed at helping companies’ IT departments address the strategic challenges brought about by the changing IT landscape. The aim of IT4IT is to support management and execution across the IT value chain and will allow enterprise CIOs to deliver services faster and with reduced cost and risk.

If that doesn’t get your attention then how about this? A recent Gartner study found that for an IT department’s budget of $1bn per annum, the initiative could save between 5% and 20% of the total.

The IT Value Chain


The IT Value Chain has four value streams supported by a reference architecture to drive efficiency and agility. The four value streams are:

  • Strategy to Portfolio
  • Requirement to Deploy
  • Request to Fulfill 

  • Detect to Correct 

Strategy to Portfolio ensures that you have the right strategy in place to balance and promote your Service Portfolio. It ensures that there is a consistent view across the Project Management Office (PMO), Enterprise Architecture and IT Service Management and that the right data is available at the right time to support decision making. Strategy to Portfolio is the part of the architecture that ensures that the appropriate KPIs are in place to improve business communication. This ties in to Agile – what epics do you want to work to? Where ITIL can be very analytical about future services, IT4IT uses the Lean startup model – let’s test a hypothesis and prove it.

Requirement to Deploy is the part of the framework that defines, builds, tests and deploys the right service at the right time for the right cost. Requirement to Deploy supports both traditional and Agile deployment methods and ensures that both continuous integration and continuous delivery control points are in place.

The Request to Fulfill value stream manages the transition to a service broker model using an offer catalogue to manage subscriptions and route fulfillment. Request to Fulfill helps your IT organisation:

  • Transition to a service broker model
  • Present a single catalogue with items from multiple supplier catalogues
  • Efficiently manage subscriptions and manage total cost of service
  • Manage and measure fulfilments across multiple suppliers

It contains very robust requirements for service catalogue creation and is scalable all the way up to the largest cloud providers.

Detect to Correct is the part of the value stream that brings together IT operations and effectively detects and corrects issues before business users are adversely impacted. It uses a shared configuration model to improve service visibility and reduce the mean time to repair.

Benefits of using IT4IT

If you’re struggling with managing your IT strategy then IT4IT could help you with the following:

  • Optimised cost of services
  • Improved service availability
  • Reduced Incident resolution times
  • More efficient usage of technology
  • Reduced transactional friction
  • More effective and Agile results
  • Increased customer satisfaction

Where can I go to find out more?

There’s loads of useful information out there; here are our top picks for learning more about IT4IT


What do you think? Are you starting to look at IT4IT? Let us know in the comments.

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