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Imitating Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute’s capability maturity model (SEI CMM) maturity scheme, despite its traditional use for application development processes, helps in the communication aspects of the IT process portfolio. Operational maturity models must not only estimate process maturity on a particular platform, they must also weigh the importance of the platform to the company. The maturity models feed the IT process portfolio, where prioritization of process improvement activities based on performance levels and impacts occurs. Prioritization looks at many criteria, including business and IT. Maturity modeling also helps the IT process portfolio identify potential IT process performance risks. The inputs to the IT process portfolio will increasingly factor in the impact that business variables (e.g., organization culture, ability and willingness of the company to change, and process improvement priorities) have on the operational process performance and improvement efforts.
The IT process portfolio inventories and helps to identify related process grouping for which synergy between processes is demonstrated. The fields captured within the portfolio might include description of the process (e.g., activities, actors, dependencies, constraints), cross-process integration, and tool characteristics (e.g., open architecture, application program interface, intuitive graphic user interface).
IT operations groups identify possible process candidates that should be bundled and seek to prove performance returns. Processes are continually reviewed for modification and improvement opportunities. Six Sigma is a logical tool used by many companies for process improvement.
An example of a process within the IT portfolio that is critical to running operations is change management, which should be at a high level of maturity, particularly if the goal of a company is agility. Change management involves any variation to the current as-is state, with the goal of continuing to perform while effectively managing change. Change requires multiple levels of acceptance:
150 CHAPTER 4 IT PORTFOLIOS AND THEIR CONTENT IN CONTEXT
• Request for change is received (e.g., end users request alterations).
• Further due diligence of the nature (importance, criticality, etc.) of the request is assessed.
• Planning the change and analysis of impact of the change is determined (categorization, prioritization, risk, costs, benefits, etc.) using the IT process portfolio management framework.
• Approval from key constituents is obtained.
• Schedule of the change is solidified.
• Change is executed.
• Postmortem of the change occurs to assure that assumptions made in planning and analysis of impact were on track. Lessons learned are cataloged and fed back into the change process.
Change management integrates with many other processes:
• Problem management: if users do not feel they are receiving what they require, they notify the help desk, which opens a trouble ticket.
• Configuration management: assesses the risk, impact, and source of change. According to research, fewer than 1% of companies perform configuration management beyond simple desktop, server, and network configuration, significantly limiting the potential of the IT operations groups to effectively execute change management.
• Operational readiness: assesses the overall impacts of change beyond those related just to technology.
• Request management: closely communicating with the requestor (schedule, risks, impacts on other systems and processes, etc.).
Information and Data
Data is derived from the Latin word datum, which loosely translated is “something given.” Information is derived from the Latin word informare, which is “to form.” So it is that information is data that has been given meaning. Information is an abstraction of objects. Information represents patterns. Information influences actions. Information is communicated. Information is the foundation for knowledge. Knowledge, coupled with experience, leads to wisdom. The analogy could be drawn that data are the raw materials, and information is the finished goods. The letters in this book are data. Their structure within sentences provides information. If successful, this book will impart knowledge on the readers to enable them to perform IT portfolio management activities. The readers will have wisdom—we hope.
IT ASSET PORTFOLIO
High-quality data and information provide organizations with knowledge to enable effective actions and decisions. Nonexistent data and information, or poor-quality data and information, lead organizations to either fly blind or fly into the side of a mountain. Research indicates that 90% of all business decisions are sub-optimal because of data quality. Ironically, the biggest data quality complaint does not pertain to the accuracy of the data but the completeness of the data. Incomplete data translate into incomplete information, which leads decision makers to rely on intuition with greater frequency than desired. Most organizations do not know what data or information they have. They have no idea about the value of their data or information. Most organizations are aware that their data are important, valuable, and imperfect.