Delivering value as one team
With a lot of siloed processes and disparity within your departments and/or teams, there is an urgent need to align and connect all teams and have them constantly add value. If you believe this only affects large multinationals, you are wrong. This is also very apparent and visible in a lot of smaller companies and start-ups.
But how to align your business teams, product teams, financial teams and technical teams and have them all working as if they were one?
Align business and IT
In October 2015 the Open Group launched IT4IT Reference Architecture Standard, providing a vendor-neutral, technology agnostic and non-prescriptive, holistic guidance for the implementation of IT management capabilities for today’s digital enterprise. (1)
IT4IT is managing the business of IT and does not tell a business how to do things. Instead it complements, enhances and is linking structures together as the natural next step.
The foundation of IT4IT is built upon Michael Porter’s value chain which is based upon the idea to look at an organisation as a system made up of subsystems each with inputs, transformation processes and outputs. (2)
The IT4IT value chain consists of four value streams:
1. Strategy to Portfolio which is the bridge between business and IT and aligns new demands or enhanced conceptual services in one central product portfolio
2. Requirement to Deploy which turns the conceptual service into a more logical service with more detailed requirements and results in building and testing a deployable service
3. Request to Fulfill which has the task to transition the deployable service into production
4. Detect to Correct which groups the activities around the business of IT operations and the services these teams deliver (like monitoring and remediation services)
At Infocare I am leading my second IT4IT implementation and I was able to use some valuable lessons learned from my previous experiences of implementing this powerful standard.
When implementing IT4IT we have taken a phased approach starting at the component level and identified which of the components are key to our operations and prioritised accordingly. Since all departments and teams will be affected with the work involved in implementing IT4IT, my advice is to take your time and plan wisely, there will be a lot of changes taking place when linking and optimising existing processes and frameworks. Important is to make sure there is absolute commitment from the top of the organisation in making this happen.
The IT4IT Reference Architecture standard consists of the IT value chain and a three-layer reference architecture. Each of the layers is representing a lower level and more detailed description of the Functional Components. These provide more details around the components inputs and outputs, artefacts and the attributes for key data objects.
The first level is shown in above diagram and consists of the Functional Components (blue boxes) which act upon the Key Data Objects (Black circles). The Service Backbone Data Objects (Purple circles) show the relation between the three lifecycle phases of the service model (Conceptual service model, Logical service model and Realized service model).
Besides the standard IT4IT components, we have added some components related to Infocare specific processes, like Contract Management, Labor Management and Audit Management which complete the IT4IT supportive flows. For example, our ISO9001 Quality Management certification is mainly based on the IT4IT value streams and process descriptions.
A lot of positive changes took place during the implementation of IT4IT:
• We now have full ownership of all Functional components
• Revisiting existing frameworks resulted in becoming more Vendor agnostic and tool agnostic
• We created more insight in managing continuous improvements across the organisation
• Our various teams work more closely together and started functioning as one team
We are looking forward to further implementing IT4IT, building out and maturing our agile organisation.
(1) The OpenGroup IT4IT Reference Architecture Framework
More information at: https://www.opengroup.org/it4it
(2) Michael Porter’s value chain
More information at: https://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/research/dstools/value-chain-/
Jos van der Linden