Mastering IT Portfolio Management

Mastering IT Portfolio Management

IT portfolio management’s benefits increase with maturity

Most CIOs face demand for projects that far outstrips their ability to deliver. Moreover, some of these projects duplicate systems already being used elsewhere in the enterprise, and most enterprises are cluttered with IT assets. Some date back decades. Sound familiar? IT portfolio management might be the management discipline you're looking for.

IT portfolio management (ITPM) is a collection of processes, organization structures, policies and tools CIOs can use to plan and execute investments in IT. Riveting stuff you may think; yet ITPM is really useful. In its fullest form it helps regulate both new investment proposals and investments in the existing installed base of legacy assets. In so doing it helps control demand, align IT investments with business priorities, improve risk management and make orderly project delivery more likely. In short, done properly, ITPM delivers lots of business benefits.

Implementing it though can be tough. To get ITPM working properly needs a shift in power, from the edges to the centre. This is something that more organizations and their mid-level management resist vigorously. Little wonder then that most organizations' mastery of ITPM matures through a series of stages, starting with stage one's (Initial) first tentative steps to establish an outline set of process and documentation, but without necessarily ceding power to the IT centre. About 12 to 18 months later comes stage two (Developing) where standardized business unit processes are created and evaluation criteria agreed upon, but again no central decision making is in place and benefits are limited.

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