By The Open Group
Imagine a technology implementation strategy that works harmoniously for both you as the customer and your suppliers. Whether you’re an Enterprise Architect, Digital Practitioner, Sponsor, or Vendor, it’s not as impossible as it seems when you’re utilizing the IT4IT™ Reference Architecture, a standard of The Open Group and a game-changing foundation for digital systems professionals.
We set out to solve the most common and most costly implementation issues, which include managing a complex landscape of different processes and tools, multi-vendor integration, automation, and end-to-end support.
For tool vendors and suppliers, the solution means enabling a plug-and-play implementation of their tools, driving the ease of adoption of their products, and ultimately increasing revenue opportunities.
For Digital Practitioners and other customers, solutions ensure that new tools can be easily plugged into a multi-vendor end-to-end tool chain in support of specific value streams or even the entire digital product delivery pipeline, improving interoperability across the ecosystem, reducing costs, avoiding outages, and enabling business process automation.
Benefits and Outcomes
Establishing the IT4IT Reference Architecture as the standard that your suppliers must meet removes lengthy discussions of “how” to integrate and makes the on-boarding and off-boarding of suppliers faster, easier, and more cost-effective on both sides.
Enterprise Architects, Digital Practitioners, Sponsors, and Vendors report increased success and satisfaction when collaborating across standardized systems and interfaces that seamlessly share data. Deploying new tools is faster, more automated, and offers better end-to-end system insights and measurements. With improved communication and support between multiple vendors, integration requires less effort and costs less to maintain, allowing vendors the opportunity for increased business.
Also, developing a clear vision of the target tool integration landscape supports both a given value stream and the entire value chain, allowing businesses greater agility when it’s time to adopt new practices and tools, e.g. DevOps, CI/CD, GitOps.
Identifying Key Challenges
Before we could identify solutions, we evaluated specific challenges from multiple stakeholder perspectives finding unanimous dissatisfaction with integration becoming expensive and cumbersome for both customers and suppliers.
Sponsors struggle with agility, unable to easily adapt to changes in business demand. Often redundancies occur across multiple tool vendors causing unnecessary cost increases and significantly reducing ROI. They also lack automated end-to-end flow of information, making it difficult to generate strategic business insight for decision-making.
Enterprise Architects waste time inefficiently integrating data across value streams with overlapping capabilities, with no industry standard common data model, and no ability to automate.
Digital Practitioners are left with unreliable, incompatible, or incomplete data, and are resistant to integrate a new supplier or tool due to the risk, complexity, and expense.
Meanwhile, the vendors seeking to offer solutions are faced with evaluating and rationalizing this messy portfolio of product offerings and are therefore not well equipped to convince a client that they can help enable their success.
Clearly all stakeholders would benefit by moving away from proprietary platforms and siloed solutions for specific processes and functions.
Utilizing the IT4IT standard as a blueprint helps deliver a consolidated, modern, and automation-ready tool chain that accelerates flow, lowers the cost and complexity of digital product delivery, and enables an efficient exchange of data across the tooling landscape.
Customers and Digital Practitioners use the IT4IT standard to analyze and assess the current state of their tooling integration landscape, identifying gaps and overlaps in each tool’s functionality and interface, and enabling them to better understand the most effective ways to evolve their digital strategy with the needs of their business. They can improve transparency, traceability, and broad awareness of the data flows between teams and their tools, such as to existing vendors and tooling, to bottlenecks that need scaling and automation, to self-service/self-healing capability offerings, and for where Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) could be utilized.
Vendors can offer standardized interfaces and data models in their toolsets based on the IT4IT Reference Architecture which provide for more automation and speedier delivery with more consistent, reliable information.
When decision-makers strategically engage with tool vendors that adhere to an industry standard data model, they ensure improved consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness for all stakeholders.
To learn more about IT4IT™ Reference Architecture and review real world use-cases, visit www.opengroup.org/it4it.
If you are interested in helping to develop, evolve, and drive the adoption of the IT4IT™ Reference Architecture, then you can find out more about joining The Open Group IT4IT Forum at www.opengroup.org/it4it-forum.
Members of the IT4IT Forum include Enterprise Architects and IT department leaders or industry consultants from Accenture, Achmea, Architecting the Enterprise, Armstrong Process Group, AT&T, ATOS, BP, Capgemini, DXC Technology, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Munich RE, Origin Energy, PwC, Royal Dutch Shell, UMBRiO, and University of South Florida.