Businesses are increasingly looking for IT to be more efficient and to add significant value. In order to achieve this outcome enterprise architects need to consider the value streams in the organizations that add up to business value, according to one expert.

Rick Solis, the IT business architect at ExxonMobil, voiced his opinions during an Open Group conference in Austin in July. Solis has a wealth of knowledge in the area having focused on applications and technology strategy for the ‘business of IT’. His speech at the event looked at how ExxonMobil is leveraging IT4IT to grow their integrated strategic planning process.

IT4IT is the Open Group’s approach to help position IT as a valued asset for business of the modern world. It compromises of a reference architecture and a value chain-based operating model for managing the business of IT. The value chain is split into four value streams – strategy to portfolio, request to fulfill, requirement to deploy and detect to correct. Together these four streams aim to help IT control the service model as it advances through its lifecycle.

While other frameworks and standards focus on process, IT4IT target is to take an agnostic approach instead looking at the data needed to manage a service. With this in mind, IT4IT can improve effectiveness and, as a result, free up additional time and budget within a business.

Solis’ speech shared ExxonMobil’s success of using the IT4IT method. He noted that the business of IT is changing rapidly, with new technologies having a large impact and emerging trends forcing organizations to adapt the way they work.

Delegates heard how IT4IT was used at ExxonMobil to help drive architecture and investment profiles by evolving their integrated strategic planning process. Solis also explained that IT4IT was used at ExxonMobil to identify gaps in their strategies, flagging up areas that needed improvement, and add extra business value.

In order to maximize benefits and opportunities, Solis commented that enterprise architects need to think about how different value change ass up to create business value and reflect this in the way they work.

The Open Group event focused on how organizations can use openness as an advantage.  It looked at the opportunities, advantages, risks and challenges of both open standards and open source in relation to supporting digital business stratifies.

Other highlights of the conference, which welcomed over 200 attendees, included Jeff Scott, president of Business Innovation Partners, examining future challenges and opportunities and how to unlock organizational capacity moving forward and Aaron Rorstrom, principal enterprise architect at Capgemini, offering guidance on the Open Business Architecture Standard.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

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