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These views are usually provided in easy-to-digest reports and computerized interfaces, bubble charts, and graphs that help a decision-making committee (gatekeepers) determine and assess strategic alignment and the practicality of meeting key objectives against possible constraints (e.g., labor, budget, time, capacity). As shown in Exhibit 4.7, a bubble chart from ProSight, Inc. utilizing the account receivable from Exhibit 4.5 shows the account receivable (ERP) investment mapped according to the application priority index and budgetary unit. Totals for each budgetary unit is also shown. The bubble chart allows gatekeeps to quickly assess many variables and parameters. Bubble charts can be configured and easily manipulated for assessment.
It is also common that an investment is dependent on other investments and activities delivering business value. For instance, in some cases, measurable value is more aptly quantified according to the combined value of several related investments as opposed to a single isolated investment. It is important that readers keep in mind that the reliability of these models is dependent on the accuracy, timeliness, and relevance of the data and information used as inputs.
A fourth commonality is that all subportfolios are socialized through a decision-making committee as discussed in Chapter 3. Alternative options, sensitivity analysis, and trade-offs through the use of what-if and scenario planning provide the basis of the iterative process that occurs among gatekeepers in order to optimize limited resources. These discussions are complicated by the multiple goals of gatekeepers, assigning value to subjective and intangible factors, and reaching consensus on degree that each IT portfolio objective (e.g., balance, alignment, value, and practicality) should influence the final ranking and prioritization of investments. Reaching agreement on the weighting and scoring of criteria also provides the basis for assessing the impact of off-cycle priorities, easing the complexities associated with rapidly reprioritizing and revectoring resources to meet unexpected needs. As shown in Exhibit 4.8 from Mercury Interactive, scenario planning and web-based tools are effectively used for all subportfolios to analyze changes and assess impacts.
EXHIBIT 4.5 INVESTMENT REVIEW SCORECARD
Source: Copyright © 2005 ProSight, Inc.
EXHIBIT 4.6 MULTIDIMENSIONAL CRITERIA
Last, continuous communication forms the most essential element of IT portfolio management. IT portfolio management is a people process, and communication and collaboration using the same language and vocabulary is an essential aspect of the process. Priorities, changes, risks, uncertainties, constraints, resource allocations, dependencies, time frames, criticality, benefits, and new requirements form a small fraction of the constant streams of communication that must occur within a company for IT portfolio management to be successful. The subportfolios must allow employees to easily drill down to granular levels of information and collaborate with others regarding issues or concerns. Priorities, critical tasks, and hot spots are visible and identified early, ensuring that they have the attention of executive management.
For some, IT portfolio management will be viewed as a large (and negative) change. For these employees, exposing data and information is viewed as a threat to decisions they have (or have not) made. In addition, it compromises their ability to procure IT investments on an ad hoc basis. Overcoming many of these ingrained behaviors can be very challenging. Incentives that tie the success of the subportfolio to compensation combined with rigorous training that addresses the IT portfolio management process and explains its impact on employees are effective ways to educate, change behaviors, and reach consensus and compliance.
Exhibit 4.9, Pacific Edge Software’s selection dashboard, demonstrates how many of the areas identified in this section come together. Although the exhibit represents the IT project portfolio, all subportfolios could be reflected in the diagram. Indicators (circle, star, arrow) are highlighted that show the investment,
EXHIBIT 4.7 BUBBLE CHARTS FOR ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE EXAMPLE
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