3. Digital Management

This chapter provides an overview of all the IT4IT Reference Architecture. In the IT4IT Standard this is referred to as Level 1.

3.1. Foundational Concepts

At the most basic level, the IT4IT Standard defines the “Digital Management” of “Digital Products” in order to create an efficient value delivery. This is illustrated in Figure 1.

L0 A Diagram
Figure 1. The IT4IT Value Delivery Framing

A basic understanding of a few foundational IT4IT concepts is necessary for any detailed understanding of the material that follows: the standard describes how data objects, functional components, and value streams interact to deliver business value. Each is discussed briefly here. Formal definitions of these and other terms can be found in Chapter 11.

Data objects: The most critical element of the IT4IT Standard is the identification of which information must exist and be effectively integrated for the effective end-to-end management of the Digital Product lifecycle.

The information described by each data object may be stored in a database table but the storage method is not specified by the IT4IT Standard. Likewise the format of an instance of a data object can be any relevant format (e.g., model file, source file, script, executable file, a development deliverable, a word processing document, a mail message) that can be indexed by its associated functional component.

In many organizations, much of this information is held in informal, poorly managed, or poorly integrated systems including manual filing systems or as static documents. Part of the IT4IT Standard is about ensuring what data should be identified and which functional component should control the data object through its lifecycle.

Some key data objects make up the Digital Product Backbone: the full description of a Digital Product over its lifecycle.

Other key data objects make up the Service Offer Backbone: the data about the consumption of service delivered by a Digital Product.

Functional components: These define the minimum set of operational functionality essential for effective end-to-end technology management (e.g., Strategy, Product Backlog, Defect, Identity, Incident, and so on). Each is modeled as an Application Function whose job is to control one or more key Data Objects.

The definition of each functional component includes specific functional criteria, which are the minimum operational capabilities, data integrations, and data flows required for the coherence of the full IT4IT model.

Value streams: The architecture describes seven prescriptive value streams (see Section 3.3 and Chapter 5). These business views of Digital Product lifecycle management are broken down into a series of value stream stages that make use of functional components and data objects to deliver a defined outcome. For each value stream, a set of practical examples is provided in the form of business scenarios.

How do these concepts work together? To achieve the high-automation, large-scale vision of the IT4IT model, the functional components would be software components that participate in a fully integrated automated toolchain – a “Digital Product factory” – that maintains full data traceability from concept to deployed Digital Product and delivered service, and for which all value streams and associated data flows and integrations are automated based on a common IT4IT architecture.

3.2. Top-Down Decomposition of the IT4IT Architecture

The IT4IT Standard is about defining the value stream, the associated functions, and the data objects needed to control the planning, development, delivery, and run management of Digital Products. This can be seen as a factory for digital.

In the rest of this chapter we will outline:

  • The groups of functionality needed for managing digital

  • The decomposition of the digital value stream

  • The necessary underlying functionality and data models

The detailed normative definition of this can be found in Chapters 5 to 10.

3.3. The IT4IT Functionality Groups

Functionality groups provide an abstraction of what is needed to manage the new digital reality in a way that helps to simplify conversations between interested stakeholders. In the IT4IT Standard, we use it to describe a collection of functionality and data that is responsible for a well-defined part of the overall value creation. We describe the groups at a high level, and we decompose one level to have well-defined categories for defining the Supporting Functionality.

The IT4IT Standard defines four IT4IT groups of functions that deliver the outcome for the high-level IT4IT Value Streams. These are known from previous versions of the IT4IT Standard as making up the IT4IT Value Chain:

  • Chapter 6 defines the functionality used to manage a digital strategy and portfolio

    This was formerly known as the Strategy to Portfolio (S2P) value stream.

  • Chapter 7 defines the functionality used to build a Digital Product from its defined requirements

    This was formerly known as the Requirement to Deploy (R2D) value stream.

  • Chapter 8 defines the functionality used to deploy and consume a Digital Product

    This was formerly known as the Request to Fulfill (R2F) value stream.

  • Chapter 9 defines the need functionality used to detect issues and correct them in order to ensure products run as expected

    This was formerly known as the Detect to Correct (D2C) value stream.

In addition to these four IT4IT functional groups, digital management depends on a set of Supporting Functions. The IT4IT Standard defines six of these in Chapter 10.

The Supporting Functions are only defined in terms of the minimum functionality they need to deliver in order to support the core of the IT4IT Reference Architecture. Other standards define these capabilities in much more detail and it is not our aim to compete with these standards.

L0 A3 diagram
Figure 2. The IT4IT Value Delivery Framing Across the High-Level Capabilities

Figure 2 illustrates how the capabilities work together, with the IT4IT Value Streams and the associated decomposition of the concept of a Digital Product.

3.4. The Digital Value Network

A traditional model for defining factories is Porter’s Value Chain concept [Porter]. This revision of the IT4IT Standard breaks with the Value Chain model and moves to the more recent concept of the Value Network. This reflects that value creation is a complex interaction within many systems and organizations.

In Figure 3, it is recognized that in addition to the core value stream for managing digital, a complex interaction with a number of supporting capabilities in an enterprise is needed. These functions are not at the heart of the IT4IT Standard, as other standards and frameworks have these functions and capabilities as a focal point.

L0 A1 diagram
Figure 3. The IT4IT Supporting Capabilities

The Value Network is further defined through the interaction of the Digital Product with customers, business partners, vendors, as well as government and regulatory entities. The Digital Product is creating value for its consumers. The business partners and service providers can both provide resources for delivering Digital Products as well as creating their own value using the Digital Products delivered through the IT4IT Standard. As you develop Digital Products you must comply with government and regulatory rules and thus participate in the value creation of society; see Figure 4.

L0 A2 diagram
Figure 4. The IT4IT Value Network Interactions

3.5. The Seven IT4IT Value Streams

For the second decomposition, a split is made with the Digital Product as an abstract entity in a set of data objects that form the essence of the Digital Product Backbone. This is complemented with seven new value streams that, together, explain how to define and manage the delivery of digital value.

L0 B diagram
Figure 5. The IT4IT Value Streams

A value stream is a representation of an end-to-end collection of value-adding activities that create an overall result for a customer, stakeholder, or end user. For more detailed treatment of the definition of value streams; see the TOGAF Series Guide: Value Streams [G178].

As shown in Figure 5, the complete set of value streams depicts the various ways in which an organization orchestrates its capabilities to create stakeholder value through Digital Products. The value stream has a direct linkage to an organization’s business model (specifically to the value proposition). As an organization translates its business model to an operating model, those value stream stages can be translated into digital delivery processes as well as related data objects, tools, integrations, etc.

This document defines the following seven value streams: Evaluate, Explore, Integrate, Deploy, Release, Consume, and Operate.

These value streams are briefly introduced and described in the following sections.

3.5.1. Evaluate

The Evaluate value stream is about the continuous assessment and evaluation of the entire Digital Product Portfolio to optimize the alignment of the Product Portfolio with the business strategy, including the identification of new Digital Product opportunities that support business and technology objectives.

The Evaluate value stream is described formally in Section 5.1.

3.5.2. Explore

The Explore value stream continuously explores new features and/or future directions of a Digital Product aligned with strategic direction and business needs. It ensures the Product Design evolves to facilitate innovation and optimize business outcomes.

The Explore value stream is described formally in Section 5.2.

3.5.3. Integrate

The Integrate value stream continuously designs and builds new Product Releases and makes them ready for deployment to the market or the business. The Product Release is not limited to software development; this value stream is also applicable for the development of infrastructure building blocks and workplace services. The Product Release may be as large as an entire new product or as small as a hotfix or a patch.

The Integrate value stream is described formally in Section 5.3.

3.5.4. Deploy

The Deploy value stream deploys a Product Release into a production/operating environment (creating a new instance or updating/removing an existing instance). The scope of this value stream includes many different strategies for deploying Product Releases.

The Deploy value stream is described formally in Section 5.4.

3.5.5. Release

The Release value stream provides consumers with digital Service Offers that represent a new instance of a Digital Product or a change (including decommissioning) to an existing instance. A Service Offer defines how to subscribe to a Digital Product and all other lifecycle interactions the instance will have with its consumers, stakeholders, and support. The Service Offer can be made available for consumption through a self-service portal or through Application Program Interfaces (APIs).

The Release value stream is described formally in Section 5.5.

3.5.6. Consume

The Consume value stream is triggered when an entitled human or system actor accepts a Service Offer related to a Digital Product. The value stream should support customer self-service and is not limited to a single engagement channel. It orchestrates the actions required to fulfill consumption of the offered service to ensure that the desired Digital Product is delivered within the agreed terms.

The Consume value stream is described formally in Section 5.6.

3.5.7. Operate

The Operate value stream manages the continuous operations of a deployed instance of a Digital Product in a continuous manner. It is responsible for maintaining availability and performance within the boundaries of agreed Service Contracts. The scope of this value stream includes managing any compliance and security aspects of running Digital Product Instances and underlying systems.

The Operate value stream is described formally in Section 5.7.

3.6. Introducing Functional Components and the Data Model

The seven IT4IT Value Streams are defined in Chapter 5. Each IT4IT Value Stream depends upon an end-to-end flow of work – via data objects – through multiple functional components to deliver the expected result for the customer, stakeholder, or end user.

The IT4IT Standard defines functional components as the application building blocks for managing Digital Products. Related functional components are associated together into four functional groups. A further decomposition is made from the four high-level functional groups into eight (sub-functional groups that must be established in order to manage Digital Products: Strategy, Portfolio, Develop, Test, Consume, Fulfill, Support, and Assure.

Each functional group manages one or more data objects which are controlled by applications. The integrated data objects comprise the Digital Product Backbone and Service Offer Backbone which ensure traceability through the Digital Product Management lifecycle.

While the IT4IT Value Streams orchestrate, consume and/modify multiple data objects in the flow of work to deliver value, we provide a high-level visualization in Figure 6 where we highlight only the backbone data objects.

L0 C diagram
Figure 6. The IT4IT Functional Groups, Value Streams, and Associated Digital Product and Service Offer Backbones

These eight functional groups shown in Figure 7 are then populated by 33 functional components that control 44 key data objects. The 44 data objects are manipulated as the seven value streams are exercised: exploring, integrating, deploying, releasing, consuming, operating, and evaluating the Digital Products. The data objects are related to each other and in Figure 7 we show some of the most important relations. For the full list of relations and their associated cardinality see Chapters 6 to 10.

L1 diagram
Figure 7. The IT4IT Level 1 Functional Diagram

3.7. Concepts Recap

The IT4IT Standard defines seven value streams that manage the Digital Products. Information on the Digital Products is tracked through a set of interconnected data objects managed by functional components. These are the components at the center of delivering the digital management capabilities, as illustrated in Figure 8.

IT4IT concepts and relationship
Figure 8. The IT4IT Concepts and their Relationships

Combining the value streams with the four high-level functional groups results in Figure 5. Combining the value streams with the eight sub-level functional groups results in Figure 6. Combining the data objects with functional components and functional groups results in Figure 7.

For details on the formal object types, metamodels, and associated ArchiMate solution patterns used in Chapter 11, see Figure 9.

simplified notation
Figure 9. The IT4IT Simplified Notation for the IT4IT Model