Over the last few decades, IT has gone from being just another weapon in a company’s arsenal to becoming the very lifeblood of modern business. Understanding the role of IT within an organization is now a crucial prerogative for managers, regardless of whether they have technical backgrounds. Failing to take IT capabilities into account not only reveals a startling lack of perspective, but can also result in wasted time and resources in the pursuit of larger corporate goals.
In order to encourage this mindset, it can help to treat IT as a business in itself. This is the purpose of IT4IT, a reference architecture designed to help those managing the business of IT to demonstrate the functions and roles of IT within their organization. The IT4IT framework has been utilized by businesses the world over, regardless of their size, function or industry, to the extent that IT4IT certifications have become valuable stepping stones for anyone pursuing a career in IT service management (ITSM).
Released by The Open Group in 2015, IT4IT has been steadily growing in popularity, and not just for companies which purely focus on IT. IT4IT is agnostic in terms of both technology and industry, meaning that, in theory, it can be applied to any IT system. It is even designed to accommodate existing IT landscapes and software, so that it can be incorporated into virtually any organization with minimal disruption.
IT4IT works according to the ‘Value Chain’ method. Because IT responds to demand in a manner similar to most businesses (that is, by planning, creating and distributing services), it can usually be treated as a business. Managers can use this approach to reevaluate each phase in the lifecycle of a service in order to boost its efficiency, drive down costs and provide full end-to-end traceability.
Unlike other IT standards, such as COBIT and ITIL, IT4IT is also prescriptive. The framework provides advice on how to properly manage service modules and lifecycles, as well as what systems to put in place and where.
Of course, as nice as all of this sounds, it can be difficult to put it into context if you do not have much of a technical background. The terminology, structure and basic concepts of IT4IT may not yet be clear to you, let alone the reasons why studying the IT4IT framework can help your business (or even your career). With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest brass-tacks benefits of studying IT4IT!
One of the biggest advantages of IT4IT’s framework and methodology is that they are ideal for creating holistic pictures of IT landscapes. All components can be included, including key processes, tools and flows, as well as important actors like IT managers and stakeholders.
With this level of awareness, it will be easier for you to identify where certain elements in your business can be refined, or even where you are at risk. You will also be able to better-predict how certain changes will impact your IT infrastructure overall, allowing you to make far more constructive decisions.
Crucially, IT4IT can help you to develop this level of understanding even if you do not have a solid background in IT. Being able to create a unified view of an entire service portfolio will allow you to make key decisions quickly, effectively, and without creating any unnecessary grief with your IT staff.
This perspective can also make future IT architecture work much easier, as you will already have existing roadmaps to work from the next time you need to make a change to your infrastructure.
Greater alignment between IT and business
There is no question that IT must always be a key consideration when making decisions in a modern business environment. Its contribution should be maximized, though its limitations should also be acknowledged where necessary.
In assessing your IT processes, you may find that some are wasteful, or failing to support your larger business goals. Are key administrators and IT managers performing their roles to a high enough standard? Do you have any hardware or software that needs to be brought up to date? Does your staff need to be upskilled in any key skills?
IT4IT can help you to identify any areas which are lacking, ensuring that business goals can be met as efficiently as possible. By laying out not only your key roles, services and KPIs but also their contribution to your larger targets, you can widen your awareness and fully refine your day to day operations. Remember, one of the biggest advantages of IT4IT over other frameworks is that it is focused on a big picture, not merely the niche of IT.
The requirements for managing IT infrastructures and data models have become increasingly complex over the years. Having to integrate more diverse tools and processes into an archaic framework can prove a huge challenge in itself. You may have fallen into destructive or inefficient habits, simply because what you currently have ‘does the job’.
IT4IT helps to solve this problem by showing users how to create clear architectures of their IT operations. A straightforward layout can make it much easier to recognize where changes need to be made; far more than relying on managers who are primarily aware of their own niche priorities.
More importantly, IT4IT can be applied to virtually any data objects, services or other IT factors, no matter how disruptive they may be. This kind of fluidity can be vital as an IT operation scales up or incorporates new technology.
Ease outsourcing and collaboration
These days it is common for businesses to outsource some of their operations, whether to save money or to establish themselves in new markets. However, this often requires a more sophisticated IT structure, as features like external customer services, cloud storage and so on can add layers of complexity to a system.
Not only does IT4IT make it easier to integrate outsourced services into an existing IT system, but the awareness and perspective it grants also make the services easier to maintain and improve in the long-term.
For example, at some point a business may wish to reevaluate the value of its relationship with an external service provider. IT4IT would help the business to review the contribution made by the provider in light of crucial corporate goals and KPIs, providing the full perspective necessary to realize whether action should be taken.
Deliver better services to customers
Following the IT4IT framework and methodology can allow you to deliver your essential services in a far more streamlined fashion. By eliminating or restructuring wasteful elements within your infrastructure, you can provide higher quality services with minimal lag or disruption. This, in turn, can lead to greater customer satisfaction, a boost to your reputation and more impressive profits.
For example, you could provide a huge increase to your customer retention rate by reassessing your online customer service capabilities, a vital part of any modern business. Similarly, you may be able to boost the performance of your website by cutting out unimportant or dead pages.
Remember, IT4IT is all about identifying and removing or improving weak links in order to maximize the value of an overall offering.
A modern standard for IT
IT4IT is a relatively new standard, incorporating a wide range of modern IT features. Better still, there is a growing and active community of IT4IT practitioners working to continually improve the framework and keep it up to date with the latest technology and software.
This modernity makes IT4IT an excellent choice for anyone seeking an overview of contemporary IT infrastructures. IT and software development are in constant flux, leaving many ITSM framework vendors struggling to keep up. At the same time, ITSM is a rapidly expanding discipline, especially within the world’s largest and most competitive companies.
If you want to stay on top of your rivals, choosing a modern IT framework will be absolutely essential!
Studying IT4IT with Good e-Learning
Are you interested in learning more about IT4IT? Good e-Learning offers a variety of IT4IT training courses, all fully accredited by the Open Group.
Each of our online accredited training courses comes with a number of perks to help learners along, including practice exams and 24/7 tutor support. We even offer FREE vouchers for the official IT4IT Foundation examination, ensuring that students can gain their IT4IT certifications as soon as they are ready.