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PPM: Deciding Where to Begin - Page 2

Mar 15, 2005
By

Jeff Monteforte






Scenario #1: Low Credibility & Low Dependency

  • Your company's dependency on IT is low because the use of information technology is primarily in the automation of standard business processes, such as accounting and payroll.
  • IT's credibility is low because of lackluster cost control and budgetary management.

  • Therefore, begin with the hardware & applications in the asset portfolio.
  • Hardware and software are the most tangible of the IT assets, which normally translates into the quickest path for providing tangible cost savings to your company.

    Being proactive in finding cost savings is a great start to increasing your credibility and a great way to self-fund an overdue infrastructure build-out.

    Scenario #2: Low Credibility & High Dependency

  • Your company's dependency on IT is high because the use of information technology is essential to critical business functions, such as product development, sales, and business transaction processing.
  • IT's credibility is low because the business believes IT should be able to get more projects done and there is a history of poor project delivery and missed user expectations.
  • Therefore, begin with project portfolio management.
  • The essence of PPM is to engage business leaders in the IT investment decision-making process. In doing this, IT leaders begin to understand the business better and start to speak in business terms.

    Likewise, business leaders begin to get a better understanding of the complexities of the IT environment, as well as the business enabling capabilities that appropriately used information technology can provide.

    Over time, business and IT strategies become interwoven, the investment process is transparent to all critical parties, and the business dependency on IT-enabled projects steadily grows.

    Scenario #3: High Credibility & Low Dependency

  • Your company's dependency on IT is low because the use of information technology is primarily in the automation of standard business processes, such as accounting and payroll.
  • IT's credibility is high because of a history of superior cost control, budgetary management, and operational efficiency.
  • Therefore, begin with the data, IT processes and human resources in the asset portfolio.
  • While you more than likely already have the operational and administrative costs well in control, you can still reap additional cost savings benefits and improve the IT department's quality-of-service from managing the remaining IT assets.

    These assets are somewhat intangible and it takes longer to understand their lifecycles as compared to the more tangible hardware & software assets, but the fact that IT's credibility is high implies that the business will be patient as you build this portfolio and the appropriate management processes.

    Scenario #4: High Credibility & High Dependency

    Okay, okay ... I know this scenario is extremely rare, but it does exist somewhere. Doesn't it? Just in case it does I'll round out the discussion with the final option.

  • Your company's dependency on IT is high because the use of information technology is essential to critical business functions, such as product development, sales, and business transaction processing, as well as standard business processes, like accounting, payroll and HR.
  • IT's credibility is high because of a history of superior cost control, first-class project delivery, excellent budgetary management, and very good operational efficiency.
  • Therefore, begin by tackling the entire IT portfolio, the project portfolio as well as the asset portfolio.
  • Because the IT environment is being solidly managed and a strong relationship between IT and the lines of business exist, the only way to make a significant impact with portfolio management is to build a comprehensive IT portfolio.

    So, include both the projects and all the assets in your pursuit of deploying portfolio management.

    In summary, recognize your unique situation and understand the true priorities of the business as they pertain to information technology.

    With APM, you have the opportunity to improve the credibility of the IT department as well as your own credibility in the eyes of business leaders. Moreover, if you feel that your company is missing opportunities to leverage information technology as a strategic weapon, PPM can be used to educate business leaders and improve the business dependency on information.

    Make your choice wisely and you'll maximize the success of your first portfolio management initiative and set the stage for additional programs.

    Jeff Monteforte is president of Exential, a Cleveland, OH.-based information strategy consulting firm, which specializes in IT governance, information security and business intelligence solutions. He can be reached at jmonteforte@exentialonline.com.

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