1. Introduction

1.1. Objective

The subject of this Snapshot document is the specification of the IT4IT Standard, Version 3.0, a standard of The Open Group. It prescribes a reference architecture based on a Digital Value Network with value stream mappings, information model, capabilities, functional components, data objects, and data flows that can be used to manage the business of Information Technology (IT) and the associated lifecycle management of Digital Products.

This Snapshot document is intended to make public the direction and thinking about the path we are taking in the development of the IT4IT Standard, Version 3.0. We invite your feedback and guidance. To provide feedback on this Snapshot document, please send comments by email to ogspecs-snapshot-feedback@opengroup.org no later than March 31, 2022 for possible adjudication and inclusion in the final publication of Version 3.0, otherwise, no later than December 31, 2022 for possible adjudication and inclusion in future versions of the Standard.

1.2. Overview

This Snapshot document presents a proposal for a standard that is an end-to-end, value-based blueprint to help establish competitive advantage by exploiting new and innovative digital approaches. Adoption of the IT4IT Standard can help business leaders to improve organizational efficiency by reducing the gap between business objectives and digital outcomes by aligning key stakeholders around value-led, collaborative product and service delivery.

The IT4IT Standard uses a value stream approach to create a model of the functions that organizations must perform to help them to identify activities that contribute to business competitiveness. This value stream framework is often referred to as a Value Network. A Digital Value Network is specified in this document as part of the IT4IT Reference Architecture, which defines an integrated management framework focusing on the lifecycle of Digital Products. It identifies the key things that organizations must do – and do well – to deliver digital capabilities. It allows an organization to achieve the same level of business predictability and efficiency that supply chain management has allowed. It is designed by practitioners to be industry, product, and vendor-independent.

The approach put forward in prior versions of this standard was based on the long-standing thought experiment of “running IT as a business”, a common theme in IT management discussions for the past 40 years (see Betz, p.10 for extensive citations). In recent years, this need has rapidly evolved as the business itself has become digital. In other words, as the business delivers Digital Products, IT becomes the business.

Managing IT, or as we increasingly formulate it “managing digital”, often uses guidance from frameworks (such as ITIL®, SAFe®, COBIT®, and the PMBOK™ Guide), standards (such as ISO/IEC 20000-1:2011), and other IT management professional literature. The IT4IT Reference Architecture is a complementary practicable standard for the value streams, functions, and information in a prescriptive approach to managing a Digital Enterprise. The focus is business-centric and ultimately user-centric in advancing strategy and attaining goals.

Together with the IT4IT Reference Architecture, the IT4IT Digital Value Network concept represents the Digital Product lifecycle in a new and powerful way, providing the missing link between industry standard best practice guides and the technology frameworks and tools that power the current IT management ecosystem. The IT4IT Reference Architecture is a solid foundation on which to inform a digital operating model, and it has become a welcome blueprint for the CIO/CTO/CDO and other business leaders seeking to accelerate the Digital Transformation of the business.

The Value Network is broken down into seven prescriptive IT4IT Value Streams, forming an integral part of the IT4IT Reference Architecture. It was created by a consortium of enterprise IT consumers, vendors, and partners to address strategic challenges and opportunities brought about by disruptive technology changes such as mobility, cloud, big data, and the modern threat landscape. The IT4IT Value Streams create a prescriptive model for managing the Digital Product lifecycle at scale, as well as brokering digital services to both the enterprise and to customers with the use of a multi-sourced approach.

The absence of a product-centric operating model has constrained the value that could be delivered by best practice process frameworks such as ITIL and COBIT. By showing how to shift the focus of digital investments from project to product-based value delivery, the IT4IT Reference Architecture provides a usable model for standardizing the digital automation fabric to support constant innovation and accelerated digital service delivery.

1.3. Conformance

This is a Snapshot document, not an approved standard. Do not specify or claim conformance to it.

1.4. Normative References

This document contains provisions which, through references in this standard, constitute provisions of The Open Group IT4IT Standard. At the time of publication, the edition indicated was valid. All standards are subject to revision, and parties to agreements based on this standard are encouraged to investigate the possibility of applying the most recent edition of the standard listed below:

ArchiMate® 3.1 Specification (C197), a standard of The Open Group, November 2019, published by The Open Group; refer to: www.opengroup.org/library/c197

1.5. Terminology

For the purposes of this document, the following terminology definitions apply:


Describes a possible feature or behavior available to the user or application.


Describes a feature or behavior that is optional. To avoid ambiguity, the opposite of “may” is expressed as “need not”, instead of “may not”.


Describes a feature or behavior that is a requirement. To avoid ambiguity, do not use “must” as an alternative to “shall”.

Shall not

Describes a feature or behavior that is an absolute prohibition.


Describes a feature or behavior that is recommended but not required.


Same meaning as “shall”; “shall” is the preferred term.

1.6. Future Directions

It is expected that this document will need to be revised from time to time to remain current with both practice and technology.