One way in to an understanding of the Open Group’s IT4IT standard is to see it as comprising five core concepts. Let’s count them off …
- The Value Streams
- Functional Components
- Key Data Objects
- Service Backbone Data Objects
The four Value Streams are the direct functions of the IT Value Chain, and characterize the traditional Plan, Build, Deliver, Run model employed by IT functions, itself an evolution of the old Plan, Build & Run model.
Much has been written about the IT Value Streams elsewhere. If you would like a visual overview, try Good e-Learning’s IT4IT – The Standard video here.
As a reminder, the four Value Streams are …
- Strategy to Portfolio (S2P)
- Requirement to Deploy (R2D)
- Request to Fulfill (R2F)
- Detect to Correct (D2C)
At the center of the Value Chain sits the Reference Architecture, underpinning and tying together the Value Streams. The Reference Architecture is itself characterized by the Service Model. The Service Model depicts the lifecycle of a service as it moves through the Value Streams.
- The Conceptual Model
- The Logical Model
- The Realized Service Model
The Conceptual Model could be described as the “marketing plan” of the service. It represents the beginnings of understanding why you’re offering the service, who the customers are and when and how you are going to offer it. It is the first thoughts regarding the service’s costs and benefits.
The Logical Model encompasses the typical models you might use in software development and project management, and the actual creation of the capabilities that the service needs to operate.
In the Realised Service Model, the service may be released or deployed into the operating environment, and staged in the Service Catalog for the customer to subscribe to. It becomes a true physical service.
This diagram shows the first level of the IT4IT Reference Architecture. On first appearance it looks rather linear, but this is not the case. It actually reveals a continuous flow, with feedback running all the way through it.
The blue boxes are the Functional Components, which act upon the Key Data Objects (the black circles).
Notice that the Key Data Objects are tied together with solid lines. These lines represent the Relationships between Objects.
The purple circles represent a special designation of Data Object, the Service Backbone Data Object. These are characterized by physical objects in the Service Model.
Finally, strip off the Functional Components and you have a great view of the Relationships between all of the Key Data Objects, and how you can trace them from the beginning to the end, and from the end to the beginning by referring to the Service Backbone Data Objects.