What is IT Portfolio Management?
A brief introduction to IT portfolio management
IT portfolio management concerns itself with the systematic management of an organization’s IT-related resources, projects and investments. The practice takes a big picture view of a company’s technology landscape not focusing on how any IT area in particular is fairing, but rather how all the components come together to support meeting the business goals.
As such, ITPM professionals seek to make certain that IT decisions across the entire enterprise are coordinated and the solutions implemented integrate well and complement one another.
When it is executed right, it enables practitioners to reliably measure return on investment and optimize the value generated by the IT function. ITPM covers a wide range of initiatives that can go from infrastructure deployments, virtualization rollouts and software development to network maintenance or implementing data governance programs.
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The considerable expanse of responsibility is the reason why ITPM is often considered an umbrella term rather than a well-defined domain. In the real world, this means different professionals call (and also go about) it differently, and the same goes for organizations – some may have a way of conducting ITPM that may be distinct from what a competitor is doing. Still, while there is no consensus on the internal structure of ITPM – where it begins and ends, what subdomains it comprises – because of the fluid nature of an applied discipline such as this, it is reasonable to segment it into three lower level disciplines. These are Application Portfolio Management (APM), IT Assets and Infrastructure Management (ITAM), and Project Portfolio Management (PPM).
As a leading EA management suite, iServer has mature IT Portfolio Management capabilities. One of the ways it supports ITPM professionals is by enabling them to inventory and manage application and technology portfolios in a secure central repository. Within, they can capture relevant information and metadata such as costs, lifecycle dates, ownership as well as health assessments. The content captured in iServer is reusable and easy to govern, with changes performed to any one artifact (e.g. changing an object’s metadata) being propagated throughout the entire repository instantly. Users have at their disposal a wide range of useful views that allows them to conduct cross-domain analysis and decision analysis. Additionally, iServer provides superb dynamic roadmap diagrams for visualizing portfolio changes over time.
For sharing content with an audience, users have a number of options. For business stakeholders, they may export predefined reports and dashboards condense a good amount of information and make technical information easy to understand and act upon. The CIO and other high-ranking figures will find being able to quickly digest key statistics very useful (or drill down into more detailed information, if they so choose). However, if their audience has a technical background, Portal, one of iServer's communication modules is perfect for granting them access to actual architectural content. Say a list of application owners need to be informed of planned changes to the application landscape. Portal allows ITPM professionals to publish information captured in the repository as HTML 5 pages, which makes it available to an unlimited number of users anytime, anywhere, on a range of platforms. All they need is an internet connection.
With iServer, ITPM professionals benefit from clarity over the cost of their enterprise IT function over a period of time. What’s more, they minimize the risk of bad investment and ensure compliance for their technology environment. iServer empowered them to make informed and effective decisions. In real life, the value they are able to drive thanks to the platform translates into cost cutting, IT and business alignment, and a transparent environment that supports accountability.
The ultimate goal of IT portfolio management is to ensure an effective and efficient enterprise IT capability. Because IT nowadays is playing an increasingly important role as an enabler and differentiator across all industries, it is understandably the recipient of considerable investment. Unfortunately, this in most cases also creates waste. In this context, ITPM is the control function that every business with a mature IT practice should have in place to ensure it achieves its strategic objectives in an optimum way, i.e. using the minimum amount of resources for the best possible outcome. ITPM professionals facilitate this through objective assessments, transparency around IT resources, and intelligent technology investment.