The vendor-neutral Open Group consortium has announced the launch of version 2.0 of its IT4IT Reference Architecture Standard at its conference in Edinburgh. The new ratified standard aims to standardise and "manage the business of IT" and will provide “prescriptive guidance on how to design, procure and implement the functionality needed to run IT.”
The operating model defined by the IT4IT Standard serves the digital enterprise with support for new real-world use-cases including Cloud-sourcing, Agile, DevOps, and service brokering and embraces and complements existing process frameworks and methodologies such from the old world such as ITIL, CoBIT, SAFe, and TOGAF.
The launch of the standard will be followed in early 2016 by the release of a Foundation Level training course and exam. Higher-level training and certification programs for IT4IT will also become available during the course of next year.
There will also be a number of publications available over the next few months including the IT4IT Reference Architecture Pocket Guide and the IT4IT Reference Architecture Management Guide.
While this all sounds great on paper, and the intentions are good,
“It allows IT to achieve the same level of business predictability and efficiency that supply chain management has allowed for the business, and was designed by practitioners to be industry, product, and vendor-independent.”
We are unsure about how this will actually help businesses move to new ways of working. Especially as it mixes prescriptive regimes such as TOGAF etc with continuous development methodologies such as Agile and DevOps which are, as far as we can see, as different as chalk and cheese. Yes, there’s a need to bring in some strictures around Agile and DevOps, but both methodologies are so fluid that we think it will be difficult and probably counter-productive to implement. We’re also at complete loss to understand how you bring in cloud to the equation. Cloud is such an all-encompassing term, that to say you have a methodology for cloud implementation would be like saying you have a methodology for the internet.
Version 2.0 of the IT4IT architecture is available here
Rick Ancona, CTO, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (one of the businesses in the consortium) disagrees and thinks the architecture will drive “an industry standard at the reference architecture level,” which will “achieve interoperability among our software vendors providing the strongest IT environment available, thus allowing us to focus our energies on differentiating the business services instead of focusing on how best to manage IT."