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IM portfolio management – the missing ICT-business link


The ever increasing cost of information management (IM) is resulting in
companies demanding demonstrable business value from their investments in
information and communications technology (ICT).

IM portfolio
management is emerging as the "Holy Grail" for achieving this through the
effective prioritisation, balancing and allocation of resources.
This is according to Louis van Wyk, Business Unit Manager, Business
Advisory Services at Business Connexion, who explains that "IM
portfolio management enables organisations to manage the performance of
ICT investments thereby generating business value."
He notes that business value is not the same as ICT performance,
although ICT performance influences the efficiency, effectiveness and rate
at which value is realised. "The generation of business value is a
function of managing IM performance to obtain optimal return on
operational IM spend and generating business benefit by improving IM
IM portfolio management therefore governs the application of all the
organisation's IM/ICT resources, including capital, human resources and
intellectual property.
Van Wyk says: "Generating business value starts with the ability to
effectively measure and track the performance of both IM/ICT and the
realisation of business benefit.
"This measurement capability must be integrated into the holistic IM
planning and execution lifecycle
(including the lifecycle stages of planning, executing, monitoring,
evaluating and improving) to demonstrate the extent to which the value of
ICT can be unlocked."
Therefore an IM portfolio management approach focuses on developing and
implementing an IM portfolio measurement framework and providing the
necessary systems support to enable measurement and benefit tracking in
the operational environment.
This capability then forms the cornerstone of future portfolio management
endeavours including identifying opportunities to unlock further business
value in terms of:
* Generating business revenue through improved IM operational performance,
improved IM cost management, and cost avoidance by mitigating IM-related
* Improving the return on IM investments
* Improving the alignment of a company's IM investment with its business
Van Wyk concludes: "Many of our clients are now seeing the benefits of
this approach in their operational environment and the nature of
business value that has been unlocked has been strategic, tactical,
operational and or in support of risk mitigation initiatives."