The Open Group

The Open Group is a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through technology standards. Our diverse membership of more than 870 organizations includes customers, systems and solutions suppliers, tools vendors, integrators, academics, and consultants across multiple industries.

The mission of The Open Group is to drive the creation of Boundaryless Information Flow™ achieved by:

  • Working with customers to capture, understand, and address current and emerging requirements, establish policies, and share best practices

  • Working with suppliers, consortia, and standards bodies to develop consensus and facilitate interoperability, to evolve and integrate specifications and open source technologies

  • Offering a comprehensive set of services to enhance the operational efficiency of consortia

  • Developing and operating the industry’s premier certification service and encouraging procurement of certified products

Further information on The Open Group is available at

The Open Group publishes a wide range of technical documentation, most of which is focused on development of Standards and Guides, but which also includes white papers, technical studies, certification and testing documentation, and business titles. Full details and a catalog are available at

The IT4IT™ Forum

The Open Group IT4IT Forum enables industry thought leaders to collaborate in the development of the IT4IT Value Network and the IT4IT Reference Architecture Standard for business benefit.

The mission of this Forum is to create and drive the adoption of the IT4IT Reference Architecture Standard to manage the business of IT, enable business insight across the Digital Value Network, increase focus on business outcomes, and improve agility.

Participation in the IT4IT Forum enables digital practitioners, consultants, technology and training vendors, service providers, business managers, and academics to come together in a technology- agnostic, industry-agnostic, and vendor-neutral environment to solve shared digital management challenges. Participants in IT4IT Forum Work Groups benefit as they:

  • Increase their depth of knowledge of the standard and how to use it to benefit their organization

  • Gain early access to the latest thinking before it is published broadly to the world

  • Learn from collaborating with others and networking with industry thought leaders and competitors

  • Build personal relationships and contacts that will be of benefit long into the future

  • Take advantage of opportunities to build a personal brand and develop professionally

For further information about the IT4IT Forum, visit For further information about the IT4IT Standard itself, visit

The IT4IT Name

It is sometimes questioned whether the IT4IT name is the best term to use for this standard. Some readers feel that the term “IT” indicates a traditional IT department operating model that they see as obsolete. Our intention is that the “IT” in the IT4IT name should be read as “Information Technology” in its broadest sense, not as a reference to a particular business model.

In fact, the IT4IT Standard is entirely focused on Digital Transformation at all levels. There are no simple choices for naming and although ideas such as “IT4Business” and even “Digital4Digital” have been suggested and seriously considered, all suggestions have an element of ambiguity. We have not changed the name.

This Document

This is a Snapshot document of what is intended to become The Open Group IT4IT Standard, Version 3.0, referred to within this document as either the IT4IT Standard, or the IT4IT Standard, Version 3.0. It covers the capabilities required to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of a Digital Product; from plan through build, instantiate, and operate. It assumes that the principles and capabilities for managing a Digital Product are industry-agnostic: that all digital technology leaders share the same problems and opportunities in managing the product lifecycle.

Effective management is delivered partly through organizational structure, competencies, and capabilities. A missing link in Digital Transformation has been a well-defined Digital Product reference architecture prescribing the value streams and capabilities required to manage the Digital Product lifecycle. The IT4IT Reference Architecture proposes a standard for this that can be mapped to existing landscapes yet remain flexible enough to support the inherent volatility of the technology industry and accommodate changing paradigms (composite apps, Agile development, mobile, multi-sourcing, empowered teams, etc.).

The IT4IT Digital Value Network and IT4IT Reference Architecture described in this document provide the missing link: a prescriptive guide on how to structure the management of Digital Products and their associated services.

The Digital Value Network and IT4IT Reference Architecture are a new paradigm for IT4IT operating models. They provide a welcome blueprint to help the Chief Information Officer (CIO) plan and accelerate support for the business transition to digital, illuminating the path from project-based investment models, waterfall methodologies, silo-oriented manual practices, and reactive order-taking, to a modern foundation and engine for delivering Digital Products and services with a product-based investment model, Agile planning and development, integrated and automated DevOps at scale, and effectively managed and measured service brokerage.

Business Drivers for an Improved Operating Model

Typical IT departments were built to deliver and manage technology assets and capabilities that power business processes. This capability-centric model depended on heavy investments in people, processes, and technology to deliver and maintain what became the “system of record” fabric for the enterprise. This system of record fabric is where individual domains, or silos, operate with their own language, culture, and process, irrespective of the organization in front or behind them, in the Digital Value Network. This has led and leads to a loss of focus on the true role of IT: to deliver Digital Products and services to internal and external customers, which ultimately make the company more competitive.

In order to compete in the digital service economy, IT must change from a technology and project-centric orientation to a new management ecosystem oriented around a “System of Engagement” (SoE) focused on connecting people in new ways; creating new experiences and innovation opportunities. The consumerization of IT and the explosion of cloud-based services has provided business professionals and practitioners with new means of sourcing business and technology capabilities. This disruption is having a significant impact on organizations that manage digital technology, be it traditional IT departments or more dedicated groups developing new Digital Product offerings. It is becoming a forcing function for a new IT model – one that supports the multi-sourced service economy, and one that enables new experiences in driving the self-sourcing of services that power innovation. It is leading to a new style of IT, where IT is a business innovation center, measured by the innovation it delivers and not the cost it consumes.

What is your organization’s strategy to support this new digital and multi-sourced service economy? Will your IT department support self-sourcing of services to power innovation? The redesign of IT needs to be happening now to avoid IT being highlighted as a hindrance to business innovation or worse, marginalized.

“Building a new fully integrated approach for managing IT – going beyond the traditional process models and disjointed solution landscapes – based on a common industry data model will give an important boost to our effort of becoming a world-class IT provider.”

Hans van Kesteren, VP & CIO Global Functions, Royal Dutch Shell, in a speech at the launch of The Open Group IT4IT Forum, 2014

Where should you start on your transformation journey? The required changes do not start with the people, process, and technology. Instead, the changes must start with the structure and focus of the organization, which in turn will impact roles, processes, and the automation and technology landscape. What is required is a new operating model – one that modernizes IT in four key areas:

  • Engagement model: moving from an exclusively project-led fulfillment to a self-service experience that puts control over the pace of innovation into the hands of the service consumer (IT or business consumers)

  • Deliverables: shifting from the traditional “system of record” focus driven by monolithic, process-focused applications to a new product and service-centric orientation powered by hybrid, composite applications, and information that evolves rapidly and continually

  • Lifecycle: moving from a technology-centric, project lifecycle to managing the end-to-end product and service model and lifecycle, thus opening the door to using new development methodologies like SCRUM, Agile, and practices such as DevOps and DevSecOps

  • Operating model: moving from a technology delivery organization focused on silos toward a Value Network model that promotes value-based consumption, greater cost transparency, and multi-sourced delivery of a broad-based service portfolio

The IT4IT Forum developed the IT4IT Value Streams to share a prescriptive standard for the end-to-end automation of the Digital Product lifecycle. When captured and modeled correctly, the value stream-based model remains constant regardless of changes to process, technology, organization, and/or capabilities.

The IT4IT Standard, Version 3.0 Release Highlights

The following topics have been included/enhanced in Version 3.0 of the IT4IT Standard:

  • Introduction of Digital Product

    A standard definition for “Digital Product” is introduced. The Digital Product concept underpins and strengthens the traditional emphasis of the IT4IT Standard on treating the enterprise portfolio of IT applications/services as the primary metaphor for understanding and managing IT investment. As this thinking has matured, a “shift to product” has become a mainstream objective in IT strategy.

    The updated terminology and extended Digital Product definition reflect and support this trend and its implications for financial planning, value management, organization around Agile/DevOps teams, and the exploitation of modern automation options across the Digital Product lifecycle, from strategy to support.

  • Introduction of Digital Product Backbone

    Service-centricity and the concept of a service backbone have been significantly improved in two ways. First, as part of the shift to product semantics, the term “service” is used primarily to describe delivery of products “as a service”. The service backbone found in prior versions of the IT4IT Standard has been renamed “Digital Product Backbone”. Second, the backbone has been simplified and made more straightforward, with a single primary data object at each stage.

  • Move from Value Chain to Digital Value Network

    The use of “Value Network” as a core concept for managing IT is introduced. In the move to Digital Product semantics, Value Network replaces the Porter Value Chain [Porter] as the top-level, business view of the IT4IT Standard.

  • New value streams

    The introduction of seven new value streams has replaced the four value streams of the IT4IT Value Chain of the IT4IT Standard, Version 2.1. Essentially, two value streams, “Evaluate” and “Explore”, are derived from Strategy to Portfolio. Requirement to Deploy is replaced with the “Integrate, Deploy, Release” value streams; the “Consume” value stream replaces Request to Fulfill; and Detect to Correct is replaced with the “Operate” value stream. These new value streams are much more consistently and formally defined.

  • Four capabilities derived from former IT4IT Standard, Version 2.1 value streams

    In the IT4IT Standard, Version 2.1 the four value streams – Strategy to Portfolio, Requirement to Deploy, Request to Fulfill, and Detect to Correct – were also defined to represent the groupings of the IT4IT functional components. We have preserved the groupings, but no longer refer to the groups as value streams. The groups are Plan, Build, Deliver, and Run:

    • Updated Plan (former Strategy to Portfolio) functional components

      In Plan, a Strategy functional component is introduced and significant updates have been made to the way Strategy, Architecture, and Digital Product work together.

    • Updated Build (former Requirement to Deploy) functional components

      Build has been upgraded significantly to reflect modern Agile and DevOps operating practices. This includes renaming some data objects and functional components to reflect the typical terms used in Agile.

    • Updated Deliver (former Request to Fulfill) functional components

      Change Management has been moved from Run to Build, to reflect that change is an activity managed by the Deliver functions. Furthermore, Build sees the introduction of Identity Management, as well as the better formalization of the Service Offer Catalogs and Consumption Experience.

    • IT Financial Management (ITFM) Support functions

      The Reference Architecture has been updated to improve the description of how Financial Management capabilities are supported by the standard. Financial Management is one of the Supporting Functions in the overall Digital Value Network, and its impacts on core functions and data objects have been updated to more effectively describe these impacts and interactions.

  • Use of the ArchiMate modeling language as the standard notation

    The ArchiMate Specification has replaced most instances of the “informal notation” used in previous releases. This generally improves the rigor of the diagrams. It also enables the automatic creation of these diagrams from the data held in the ArchiMate model of the IT4IT Reference Architecture that is available for download with the IT4IT Standard, Version 3.0. This ensures a high level of consistency across the model.

  • Removal of the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) lists

    The lists of KPIs associated with the four value streams in the previous release have been removed. The creation and management of appropriate metrics and KPIs for activities described in the IT4IT Standard are addressed at various points in the text of the standard. The Open Group Guide: Intelligence & Reporting Supporting Activity in the IT4IT™ Reference Architecture [G18E] describes a recommended way of approaching metrics and KPIs.

  • General consistency and flow of the overall standard

    Inconsistencies of terminology and structure that were reported against prior versions of the IT4IT Standard have been resolved.