A Look at the Innovation Value Institute


One thing that the IT sector does not want for is standards bodies. We've got the Open Group, the OMG, the APQC, Axelos (who control ITIL)... and each of these has a different area of specialism. Today I'm going to talk about a lesser known body that I've encountered, and give my take on what they offer. They're the Innovation Value Institute (IVI), based in Ireland, and their particular area of emphasis is IT capabilities.

Summary: The Innovation Value Institute has defined a capability model for an IT organization. At first glance, there is overlap with COBIT 5's reference model, but the different focus of the IVI work makes them complementary.

The Innovation Value Institute came about to manage and promote their capability framework, the IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT-CMF). The IT-CMF itself grew out of work done at Intel's Ireland facility by their then CIO, and Intel remains one of the steering patrons, along with the Boston Consulting Group and the National University of Ireland.

As the name implies, the focus is on capability management for an IT organization. To that end, the IT-CMF identifies 34 capabilities, grouped into 4 topic areas;

  • Managing IT like a business
  • Managing the IT budget
  • Managing the IT capability
  • Managing IT for Business Value

Each of these capabilities is rated on a maturity scale from 0 to 5 (the standard scale originally proposed by the CMMI).

Now, from the description above there does seem to be some overlap with COBIT's process model. You have a division into areas, you have a maturity model and there is certainly some level of alignment that is possible. For example, COBIT 5's process “APO04 Manage Innovation” does seem to align to IT-CMF's capability “IM- Innovation Management”. However, IT-CMF's “SAI – Service Analytics and Intelligence” has no clear equivalent in COBIT 5, while COBIT's “DSS06 Manage Business Process Controls” does not have a peer in the IT-CMF. This is inevitable, given that COBIT is about governance of IT management, while IT-CMF is about enabling IT capability – they simply have different, equally laudable goals.

The next way in which they differ is how the two frameworks approach capability levels. COBIT defines a universal maturity framework for their processes (also based on the 0-5 scale), and so does the IT-CMF.

However, while IT-CMF defines a description for the overall maturity of each of their capabilities, they also break each capability down into building blocks – so the Enterprise Architecture Management capability is broken down into 8 building blocks such as Architecture Framework, Architecture Planning, Communication and Stakeholder Management, and so on. Each of these have defined maturity levels on the same 0-5 scale.

The next innovation that the IT-CMF introduces to the capability maturity model is defined transitions between maturity levels for each of the capabilities, and defined value realized by doing so. For example, to move from level 3 (intermediate) to level 4 (advanced), you need to 'Integrate EA processes with broader IT governance and planning', 'Regularly update roadmap with input from business and IT' – and 6 other activities. Doing so gets you 'Reduced IT Operating Cost', 'Increase IT investment on strategic applications to optimize IT ROI' – and two others as well.

The one issue that I have with the IT-CMF is the cost. Currently, they list prices of 10,000 euros. I am unclear on whether these are fixed prices or what leeway there is.

The Innovation Value Institute appears to support itself through a mixture of corporate memberships and consulting services (education and maturity assessments). While the sums involved throw up a significantly higher barrier to entry than the likes of COBIT and TOGAF, for a corporate CIO or Chief Architect, it would be worth taking a look at the IT-CMF and seeing what the Innovation Value Institute have to say for themselves.


To find out more about the Innovation Value Institute check out their website >>