MOF Overview

Published: April 25, 2008   |   Updated: October 10, 2008


Introduction to MOF

Microsoft® Operations Framework (MOF) consists of integrated best practices, principles, and activities that provide comprehensive guidelines for achieving reliability for IT solutions and services. MOF provides question-based guidance that allows you to determine what is needed for your organization now, as well as activities that will keep the IT organization running efficiently and effectively in the future.

The guidance in the Microsoft Operations Framework encompasses all of the activities and processes involved in managing an IT service: its conception, development, operation, maintenance, and—ultimately—its retirement. MOF organizes these activities and processes into Service Management Functions (SMFs), which are grouped together in phases that mirror the IT service lifecycle. Each SMF is anchored within a lifecycle phase and contains a unique set of goals and outcomes supporting the objectives of that phase. An IT service’s readiness to move from one phase to the next is confirmed by management reviews, which ensure that goals are achieved in an appropriate fashion and that IT’s goals are aligned with the goals of the organization.

Goal of MOF

The goal of MOF is to provide guidance to IT organizations to help them create, operate, and support IT services while ensuring that the investment in IT delivers expected business value at an acceptable level of risk. 

MOF’s purpose is to create an environment where business and IT can work together toward operational maturity, using a proactive model that defines processes and standard procedures to gain efficiency and effectiveness. MOF promotes a logical approach to decision-making and communication and to the planning, deployment, and support of IT services.

How to Use MOF

The MOF guidance consists of a series of phase overviews and SMF guides. These describe the activities that need to occur for successful IT service management—from the assessment that launches a new or improved service, through the process of optimizing an existing service, all the way to the retirement of an outdated service.

The guidance is written for a number of audiences—Corporate Information Officers (CIOs), IT managers, and IT professionals:

  • Overview guides are directed toward CIOs who need to see the big picture.
  • Overview and workflow information in function-specific guides is geared toward IT managers who need to understand the IT service strategies.
  • Activities in function-specific guides are meant for the IT professionals who implement MOF within their work.

The MOF guidance is available on Microsoft TechNet at


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