It’s Westminster baby! The Open Group hosted an event in central London last week. The theme? Boundaryless Information Flow – Enabling Digital Business. The event ran for most of the week covering everything from the internet of things to TOGAF and enterprise architecture. We were there to cover the first day which was all things IT4IT.
Opening Keynote – Steve Nunn
Steve opened up the event with the exciting news around the IT4IT certification path.
The Open Group have created a sparkly new qualification to make certification available to individuals who know and understand the IT4IT reference architecture – version 2 standard. The purpose of the IT4IT Foundation certification, is to provide validation that the candidate has gained knowledge of the terminology, structure, basic concepts of IT4IT and understands the core principles of the reference architecture and the IT Value Chain. The learning objectives at this level focuses on knowledge and comprehension. The exam is your standard fare – a 40 question exam following a course of self-study or attendance at an accredited training course.
How to Stop Talking Architecture and Start Talking Business Value using IT4IT – Tony Price & Eric van Busschbach
There was much excitement ahead of Tony and Eric’s session as let’s face it, we all want to know how to get the rest of the business to understand the value of IT4IT. Tony opened the session by sharing these words of wisdom “stop talking about technical architecture and start talking about business value. If you start a conversation with the CEO with architecture in its own then you will fail because it’s boring”.
Tony then shared some real life customer problem statements and explained why IT4IT is so important “IT4IT is brilliant because it’s all about value and that opens doors.” Tony continued by saying “we need to know our audience to truly deliver value. For most organisations that’s better, faster, cheaper, safer.”
Tony handed over to Eric who talked about balance “day to day IT operations has evolved from traditional to industrialised to digitalised and is much more customer orientated. It’s not just a technology shift, it’s a cultural shift”.
Eric went on to explain the IT4IT value chain, and why establishing the right culture is so important: “ transforming IT impacts every aspect of your organisation.”
He gave practical advice “ when you use the IT4IT approach think big, start small, iterate, fail fast and learn from your mistakes. Fixing things is where the magic happens”.
Eric and Tony concluded on this note “we all want value, context is key and we need to deliver quickly, driving regular value realisation”.
Managing the Business of IT – Michael Fulton, David Hornford, David Gilmour & Luke Bradley
Next up was the dream team of IT4IT experts. Their session was a group of case studies on IT4IT, followed by a Q&A panel discussion. First up was Michael Fulton, his message? “We need to lift our IT professionals out of their silos so they can do their jobs more effectively”. Michael talked about the need to keep improving “ we need to use IT4IT as an accelerator to drive business transformation.”
David Hornford and David Gilmour talked about getting the basics right and ensuring that IT acts as an enabler, taking the audience through a score based approach; a capability based assessment for all IT providers – a roadmap to improve. They talked about the need to use an Agile approach to continually deliver value.
Luke Bradley from Vodafone talked about the practical benefits that IT4It can bring. Vodafone have 42 different Remedy platforms (42!) and a scary number of Sharepoint sites. Vodafone used IT4IT to bring about the daddy of all IT transformations using continual monitoring to keep everything on track.
Agile DevOps and How IT4IT helps – Gunnar Menze
Following a quick coffee break was Gunnar Menze, fresh from running the London marathon! His session was on DevOps challenges and how IT4IT can help.
Gunnar started by doing some DevOps mythbusting and why DevOps came about. Gunnar explained how DevOps can drive value, using a business case based on increased agility, quality, innovation and reduced outages. We’re all familiar with the gloomy statistics that approximately 80% of Incidents are caused by Change activity. Gunnar suggests that applied well, DevOps can drive that figure down to 30 – 40% by continual deployment and CSI.
The next part of Gunnar’s session talks about how IT4IT can help by using the value chain, ways of working are applied consistently. Gunnar explained the IT4IT definition of DevOps is a way of collaborating and industrialising using highly automated processes to deploy solutions that evolve as fast as the business needs them to. Using DevOps and IT4It together means you can have a continual release cycle supported by a consistent way of working.
Gunnar concluded by talking about the DevOps maturity model and how it related to IT4IT from Level 1; basic to Level 5; team dynamic processes, near instant deployments and no dev related outages.
Successful Business Transformations in the Adaptive Enterprise – Henry Franken
Henry Franken ran the final presentation before lunch. He opened by sharing some of the current challenges being faced in the world of IT and digitisation:
Henry talked about the way our world is changing:
Henry continued by talking about the use of technology can help; “you can use tools to raise the bar”
The next part of the session focused on how to overcome the challenges of living in an adaptive environment getting the balance right between innovation and keeping the lights on. It was also audience participation time!
Putting the IT4IT Reference Architecture to Work – David Hornford
The first post lunch session was run by David Hornford of Conexiam on putting the IT4IT reference architecture to work. David talked about the need for structure “using a scoring based approach gives you a control plate to use so you can be a real differentiator for your business. “IT4IT is an accelerator, it aids speed to market.”
David continued by explaining why using a reference architecture is so important “the beauty of using an end to end model is that you don’t forget stuff.”
David talked about the need for continual improvement “if you don’t excel, your reason for existence within an organisation is gone”.
David concluded on this note “IT4IT is a thing of beauty; it helps us to be consistent”.
Seven Reasons IT4IT Is Good News For Architects – Daniel Warfield
The final session we attended was Daniel Warfield’s presentation on why IT4IT is good for architects. Daniel started by sharing some real life problem statements:
Daniel continued by talking the audience through the top seven reasons why we should all care about IT4IT:
- People get it, simple as. There’s no faffing around with complex dependencies between multiple processes. No one’s got time for that.
- It’s not proprietary. There’s no bias from tech vendors, service vendors or professional bodies.
- The value chain model gives you a roadmap to show financial benefits.
- It really is about service delivery and adding value.
- It requires a common operational data model. Having one end to end model that spans IT in its entirety is a great start.
- Standard APIs across diverse tool sets; more control and less expensive custom integrations.
- Strategic transformation; we need to be comprehensible from the start, have one picture on the wall that everyone can agree on.
David concluded by reminding us that there are no silver bullets:
For my money it was a really good day. I learned lots more about IT4IT and look at all the light reading delegates were given!
Thanks to The Open Group for inviting us and we hope to cover their next event. Are you planning on finding out more about IT4IT? Let us know in the comments!