Having just returned from Gartner’s PPM & IT Governance Summit in Maryland, I’ve been reflecting on the many great discussions our team had regarding Digitalized IT and UMT360’s approach to Enterprise Portfolio Management (EPM). Because we have long promoted the tenets of integration, transparency and digitalization as key to successful business investment management, it’s rewarding to see so many organizations today adopting the discipline of EPM to propel their businesses forward.
Digitalization was a strong theme at the Summit this year and we were interested in just how far along business are in digitalizing their IT. We surveyed nearly 100 attendees who visited the UMT360 booth. Visitors were asked to characterize their maturity in the four key areas. They could indicate fully, mostly, little or none.
- The depth of integration across all IT portfolios (project, application, IT service and capability portfolios)
- The level of financial transparency across all IT portfolios (project, application, IT service and capability portfolios)
- Capabilities to analyze IT asset portfolios, finalize lifecycle decisions and build multi-year transformation roadmaps
- Capabilities to track project performance and dynamically reallocate funds to optimize spend and maximize portfolio ROI.
The results provide a gauge for not only where the organization is in relation to its peers but also what the next step forward should be. In each of the four questions, the results were relatively small at both ends of the spectrum revealing that most organizations have either started or are planning to initiate their digitalization of IT and beginning their journey into Integrated IT Portfolio Analysis (IIPA) which Gartner analyst Daniel Stang defined in a Summit session as “the ability to see into and across your IT investment, project asset and service portfolios.” It’s encouraging that most of the businesses represented at the Summit have begun the foundational work, yet, it’s also troubling to see, albeit small, the numbers of those who have not yet taken a step in that direction.
Depth of Integration: When looking at the depth of integration across all IT portfolios, 86% of those surveyed characterize their level of integration as mostly or little and 7% indicated they are fully integrated. I caution that while they see themselves as “fully integrated” they may not necessarily be automated so they do have work ahead of them to digitalize the portfolios. A small number of those surveyed indicated they have no integration at all. We know that many organizations are still making decisions in a “silo” mode. Organizations that are integrating portfolios understand how important it is to look across portfolios and understand the existing relationships and interdependencies so that optimal portfolio investment decisions can be made.
Financial Transparency: The numbers are similar when it comes to the level of financial transparency with half indicating they have some financial transparency, 32% indicating they are mostly transparent and 11% saying they have full financial transparency. It is troubling that 4% indicated they have no financial transparency at all. The absence of financial transparency and making decisions using stale or inaccurate information violates the reliability of the investments and prevents the business from determining the total cost of ownership. The business needs to be able to determine the fully loaded costs of projects and assets in order to streamline budgeting and forecasting.
Analysis & Multi-Year Transformation Roadmaps: Nearly 60% of those surveyed feel they are somewhat capable of analyzing their IT asset portfolios, finalize lifecycle decisions and building transformation roadmaps; 28% indicated they are fully or mostly capable. This tells me that organizations are making strides in analyzing their portfolios and hopefully identifying redundancies and underperforming assets, creating transformation roadmaps to record investment decisions, and looking across near-term and future demand so they can understand cross portfolio impacts of proposed changes improve investment decisions.
Track Performance and Dynamically Reallocate Funds: More than half indicated they are in the early stages of developing capabilities to track project performance and dynamically reallocate funds to optimize the spend and maximize portfolio ROI. This is the question that had the largest number of participants indicate they currently have no capabilities at almost 20%. This is an important question and is really represents an opportunity. With the right tools such as UMT360, businesses now are able to move beyond annual planning and identify the economic impacts of underperforming projects throughout the year then dynamically reallocate funds to optimize the spend and ensure that all investments are delivering maximum ROI.
What do the stats really mean?
If we were ranking an average of the responses on a four point Digitalized IT Maturity Scale, each category would fall about midway, between 2.15 and 2.53. I admit that the responses indicated these businesses are more mature than I anticipated. This may be due to the fact that, as these individuals were attending the Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit, they’re already aware of and implementing Gartner recommendations and industry best practices.
It’s important to remember that regardless of how each individual responded to the questions, all still have an opportunity to venture further down the Digitalized IT path – to do more and achieve more. It’s time for conversations about how the business will support Digitalized IT and what tools are needed to increase the existing maturity level.
Organizations commonly have technology tools in place to automate computational tasks such as scheduling but the more valuable technology in today’s environment is able to digitalize enterprise investments cognitive tasks such as enterprise portfolio management. It’s impractical to assume that management tools developed in the 1990s are able to effectively address current enterprise investment challenges.
The benefits of taking action and acquiring the proper tools are compelling – more savings and greater ROI. The risk of doing nothing is significant. In my next blog, I’ll explore the impacts of the differing maturity levels and the price businesses will pay for inaction.