Why the IT4IT™ Standard is Key to Driving Business Value for CIOs

By The Open Group

Forrester predicted that 2019 would be the year of rebuilding foundations and measured innovation for the CIO. As part of this, they suggested that CIOs not put the proverbial ‘cart’ before the ‘horse’, and to focus on providing solid foundations while taking a measured approach to innovation. Yet despite the guidance to focus on practicality, many CIOs still aspire to be seen as a technology evangelist and to work with smart business partners to create major change within the organization. This has left many CIOs at a stalemate in regards to their role and responsibilities, especially as the CEO and CDO roles continue to evolve.

Today, the CIO is still expected to focus on innovation, but their priorities have slowly shifted from the “tech-of-the-day” moonshot towards a more methodical approach. With business value top of mind, their focus now lies more with the customer and revenue, utilizing metrics to benchmark and improve the bottom line. In this role they must prioritize offerings that provide the speed and flexibility necessary for continuous innovation and a customer-centric IT operating model. Ultimately, they must act as the information eyes and ears of the business, while delivering on the vision of the C-suite, implementing technologies that bring legitimate business value.

Pressures Stemming from the IT Function

With a focus on Digital Transformation and an increasing pressure to act more strategically rather than just as a support system, IT teams are more stretched than ever before. They’re left to sort out the unintended consequences of digitalization, figuring out how to operate existing IT within a new digital landscape. This part of the process has proved especially complex as most organizations still refuse to change their operating model. McKinsey estimates that only 68% of businesses consider digitizing their business model as a top priority during the digital transformation process.

It is up to the CIO to reinvent IT by going beyond the current process-based approach, and equipping their teams with the right information and tools to support a new ecosystem that better supports digital product delivery. Doing this right will include supporting IT and business collaborations,  automating end-to-end workflows, and moving to new governance models instead of the phase-gated ones that have holistically governed IT. It will also empower IT to work as a business enabler and competitive driver rather than the supporting function it has historically been.

Thinking Holistically to Create Value

Most CIOs and IT managers have realized that losing sight of the big picture is blocking them from improving IT. Instead of improving specific processes, tools, or information needs, their focus should be on refining the system as a whole. The most effective way to do this is through the adoption of an end-to-end solution, one that can assist with the planning stage all the way through to the development, delivery, consumption and running of the service.

Over time there have been many ‘best practice’ guidelines and standards, though most do not consider the new function of IT – as a business enabler – throughout. The Open Group IT4IT Reference Architecture is unique in the fact that it does just that. With its value chain-based IT operating model, it provides a prescriptive and detailed information model-based framework that aims to enhance and support traditional process-based standards.

The IT4IT standard provides the CIO with a holistic overview on what his organization is doing well, what needs improvement, as well as highlighting how to improve upon the gaps across the business. Three use cases that support transformation that the IT4IT standard helps accelerate are re-architecting to co-create strategy with the business; rationalizing the application portfolio to reduce waste and free up funds for innovation programs; and driving automation by analysizing and selecting integration points for automation to improve the quality and speed of product and service delivery. .

The pressure to continually innovate and adopt the most effective solutions is likely to remain in today’s business landscape. But in order to create real value, today’s CIO must not only focus on innovation but on empowering the IT system to work as a competitive driver. They must think holistically and prioritize the management of IT processes to meet the demands of customers, increased competition as well as a changing business climate.

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