IT Cost Management: Out of the Ivory Tower and into the Fire!

IVI

IT Cost Management should be more than making sure your checks don’t bounce when you buy the latest technologies; it should be a competitive weapon. That was the basis for the ½ day workshop I conducted at the IT Financial Management Conference in Savannah on July 9th. Joining me was Catherine Crowley, Innovation Value Institute Researcher and my co-presenter.

During the workshop, we reviewed the fundamental financial building blocks of the IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT-CMF), a heavily researched framework that focuses on the business value of IT. At DCG ,we are outcome-oriented and technique agnostic - we care about getting results for our clients. We have found the IT-CMF to be a unique, holistic approach for a CIO to align IT investments with business value.

Based on the written feedback forms from participating IT finance practitioners, those actually managing IT finances for corporations both large and small, IT Cost Management, as assessed by IT-CMF, can add business value. Furthermore, five management level professionals expressed interest in signing up their companies for IVI-led Validation Workshops - the next step in the process of delivering greater business value. These workshops exercise the assessment methods of IT Cost Management and provide real insight into these corporations' IT finance functions.

IT-CMF is applicable for any organization, and the inherent IT finance diagnostic capabilities of an assessment can help an organization start the internal discussion on how to make IT a competitive weapon. After all, no one has money to burn, least of all IT.

Learn more about our IT Finance Diagnostic Workshop.

Tony Timbol
Vice President

Written by Tony Timbol at 05:00
Categories :

5 Tips to Help your CIO Succeed

Tony TImbolCIOs have a hard time these days. Not only are they expected to keep IT effectively running at a low cost every month, they are also expected to become business strategists, innovators and new service/product designers. No wonder many can't keep up!

I recently read a report that offered four reasons CIOs get fired, and they seem obvious:

  1. Security breaches – Letting strangers into your system is never a good thing, especially when those strangers can then access proprietary or sensitive company information.
  2. Project boondoggles – Large project failures don't just affect IT, they affect the entire business, draining money and lowering morale.
  3. Disaster recovery failures – IT hiccups are unavoidable, but there should be a plan in place for a stress-free and smooth recovery.
  4. System collapse – A total system collapse has a grave effect on the business that cannot be overlooked; the ability to scale system performance is a necessity.


So, how can you help your CIO avoid these issues (which affect your job too!)? You can:

  1. Help him identify the issues listed above before it's too late, running regular drills and “surprise” simulated outages to test procedures and training.
  2. Help him implement portfolio and project governance and measurement practices that manage projects and programs using an Agile approach to reduce project size and achieve noticeable results.
  3. Help him learn about the IT-CMF framework, an IT capability assessment tool designed to match IT investment to business value. It will help him assess his team, prioritize initiatives and talk strategically with his counterparts, the CEO and the board.
  4. Help him identify team members who have a negative effect on company morale and productivity, implementing isolation strategies to minimize their potential damage.
  5. Buy him a beer every now and then! Establish a relationship with your CIO so that the lines of communication are open and potential issues and opportunities can be easily addressed.

What would you add to this list?


Tony Timbol
Vice President

Written by Tony Timbol at 05:00

The ITFMA Conference

ITFMA

IT Budget Management, to be a competitive weapon, has to do more than just calculate Total Cost of Ownership and other measures, important as they are. IT Budget Management has to connect to the other financial capabilities of the business to produce and realize true business value. Really, what is the point of budget management if it does not help you compete in the marketplace? Otherwise, it’s just recordkeeping.

The IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT-CMF) provides a unique focus on business value when it comes to managing the IT budget. The IT-CMF provides complete and comprehensive coverage of all IT capabilities in a business, and the IT Financial Management Association (ITFMA) thinks so as well.

DCG and the Innovation Value Institute (IVI) are co-teaching a workshop on July 9th, at the ITFMA Conference in Savannah, GA. It is designed to help IT finance professionals understand what value their IT Budget Management activities and capabilities could contribute to the business to help it succeed.

To date, the IT-CMF has engaged with more than 350 CIOs and senior IT executives in organizations across more than 20 countries – all with the same goal of realizing greater value from their IT investments. Leading members of the IVI include Intel, Chevron, BP, Ernst & Young, SAP and National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

The half-day workshop simulates a full IT Budget Management Assessment from the IVI regarding key financial capabilities, level of maturity, integration, and what benefits could be contributed to the business. The key financial capabilities that will be reviewed, including their best practices, outcomes and metrics, include:

  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
  • Accounting and Allocation (AA)
  • Budget Oversight and Performance Analysis (BOP)
  • Budget Management (BGM)
  • Funding and Financing (FF)
  • Portfolio Planning and Prioritization (PPP)
  • Benefits Assessment and Realization (BAR)

Also, workshop participants will be given the opportunity to become research volunteers with the IVI in refining IT best practices within the IT-CMF. Catherine Crowley, Research Fellow at the IVI and my co-presenter, will be discussing this option with the workshop participants.

I hope to see you in Savannah! If you won’t be attending but would like more information about the workshop topic, please let me know in the comments. I’d be happy to provide that information!

Read our news release to learn more about the conference.


Tony Timbol
Vice President

Written by Tony Timbol at 05:00
Categories :

Agile Myth: You Don’t Need a Project Manager Anymore

TonyAgile, as the next way of doing software development, is becoming more and more mainstream for a variety of reasons. However, some myths regarding discipline and management around Agile methods are becoming increasingly prevalent – and one of those myths is that you don’t need a project manager anymore.

The Agile way of organizing and planning work require a level of discipline from all team members. And while Agile teams are self-organizing team, that shouldn’t be confused with self-managing. As a matter of fact, self-managing teams don’t really exist; they are a fantasy of software anarchists who think you don’t need someone in charge to make decisions.

The functions of a project manager are still necessary, but the role is adapted to fit the Agile model.

Project management responsibilities are split across the members of the SCRUM team

  • Product owner: Responsible for managing the release scope and date, managing the budget, communicating progress and managing the stakeholders
  • Team: Responsible for identifying, estimating, and managing the tasks
  • SCRUM Master: Responsible for leading and motivating


Therefore, rather than centralizing the responsibilities into one individual project manager position, Agile allows the entire team to share the role; so, in essence, the team becomes the project manager.

Do you agree? Is there still a place for project management in the Agile framework?

Tony Timbol
Vice President

Written by Tony Timbol at 05:00
Categories :

More Value Out of Healthcare IT – Webinar Series

"Without your health, not much else matters" - a very sick person.

If you have not come across this bit of wisdom in your travels, especially if you are a young, healthy person, at some point you will. The value of good health is always discounted until it is sorely needed. Whatever your opinion of the political aspect of healthcare reform, changes are underway for all of us, and especially for the healthcare industry.

Aside from the science of medicine, delivering healthcare efficiently and economically requires massive amounts of information technology and systems. The systems are complex and layered. Changing these systems requires a fresh look and a framework to assess the value of the proposed changes to determine if they align with the business' goals and objectives. Without passing judgment, we have had friends in the healthcare field confess to failed multi-million dollar projects that never should have been started.

However, that's not always the case. After many successful engagements in the healthcare field, including with clients like IMS Health, we want to share our experiences and offer best practices for how other healthcare organizations can properly prepare for the changes ahead, resulting in more value for the company.

DCG's upcoming webinar series, Healthcare IT: Managing IT like a Business? Managing for Business Value? The IT-CMF Framework., will share research and findings on what happens when you approach IT differently, focusing on the questions:

· What critical capabilities does a healthcare IT organization need and how are they aligned with the business?

· Is the organization ready to make the needed changes as fast and as effectively as possible?

· How can organization prepare for changes to result in the most value possible?

Any IT practitioner in the healthcare field will be able to report back to Senior Management about a framework focused on IT Value can help manage the future of Healthcare IT.

The first opportunity to attend this webinar is June 21 at 1:30pm EST. 

 

Tony Timbol
Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Written by Tony Timbol at 07:30
Categories :

"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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