Let’s talk about fashion. Let me start with a disclaimer: I am not a fashionista, there is a good reason why I ended up in IT. Still, most of you will agree that there is a relationship between the way you dress and the kind of person you are. You must be creative because you wear yellow pants, you like rock music because of your leather jacket and boots, you must love to work out because you always wear a tracksuit and trainers… no, wait…nevermind. Anyway, let’s agree that personality and appearance are related. But what comes first? Does your appearance drive your personality or is your appearance just matching your personality? The latter sounds more logical, after all you can just change your outfit because you found something that suits you better. And this did not require a complete change of personality. So your personality is not determined by the way you look, the opposite is true. Sounds logical so far, right? Hold that thought.
What would determine the ‘personality’ of an IT organization? For decades, these organizations have been process-driven, with a framework like ITIL, COBIT or ASL anchored in the way they act, the way they are organized and the way they are managed. Process frameworks teach you how to act, not who to be. How do you want to be perceived? As an IT-factory? An order taker? Or maybe as a valuable business partner? Many organizations were so process-driven that they forgot to develop a personality. It is as if their personality was completely driven by how they were organized. So looks determined personality. And changing looks could easily lead to an identity crisis. What if you are an ITIL-driven organization and you want to adopt the latest fashion items like Agile, DevOps or Continuous Delivery? This does not just require some process adaptations, it actually means a big organizational change. A change of personality.
So how can we develop a personality that is independent from the processes or frameworks we use? We need an architecture for that: something that defines who we are, what we stand for and how we are organized. The IT4IT standard helps you with establishing a solid architecture for your IT organization. It uses a value-oriented approach and starts with a fundamental question: why do we exist? What is our added value for our customers?
“Your looks should match your personality”
T4IT uses this question for its value chain approach: identify the primary activities that create value (agility, efficiency) and supporting activities that facilitate the main activities. The primary activities are grouped into so called value streams (Strategy to Portfolio, Requirement to Deploy, Request to Fulfill and Detect to Correct). All activities in each value stream are described in great detail. And in a prescriptive manner: do this and this and it will work.
To support overall IT governance, IT4IT describes a reference architecture of various models (the Service Model, the Information Model, the Functional Model, and the Integration Model). Each model contains components (data) which have attributes and relationships with other components. Together these models form the architecture of the IT organization and all its activities. The architecture is data-driven rather than process-driven. The architecture does not change when you move from one process framework to the next or when you adapt new concepts and technology.
Sounds familiar, right? You can adapt to the latest fashion without losing yourself. You just need some personality to get away with it.