Situation Analysis: The economic boom-and-bust roller coaster of the past three years has been a sharp reminder to business and IT executives about the need for level-headed management and clear vision. During the late 1990s and the first half of 2000, it was a difficult challenge to keep business expectations and spending at realistic levels. When the economic tide changed, the challenge was to ensure that cost control actions were pragmatic (vs. irrational cuts in core business and IT capabilities).
For IT groups, the portfolio may include hardware (e.g., servers, storage, desktops, networks, mobile devices), software (e.g., applications, databases, operating systems), information/data, processes, budgets, and people. For both business and IT groups, projects are also a key part of the portfolio, because these investments define how different assets within the portfolio will evolve.
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A key challenge has been deciding to what extent portfolio management techniques should be applied. For some organizations, simply categorizing IT investments and using portfolios as a communication tool is sufficient. Others have benefited from applying detailed statistical and management processes to their IT and business investment choices. The need to assess the degree of portfolio management discipline and detail that is appropriate for particular organizations has spurred the creation of META Group's model for business and IT portfolio management.