Application Portfolio: an IT Management Tool in the City of Oulu

Thanks to an effortless implementation project, Thinking Portfolio provided instantaneous benefits.

The City of Oulu is using both the Thinking Portfolio project portfolio and application portfolio. The decision to procure both tools was made simultaneously, and both portfolios were implemented within two months.  The project portfolio was implemented in November 2012 with the application portfolio introduced a month later. Juha Saarela, IT Specialist, City of Oulu, who participated in the implementation, says that Thinking Business fulfilled their promise of an effortless implementation project. Saarela also appreciates Thinking Portfolio’s references and expertise which helped emphasize the right areas.

– We implemented Thinking Portfolio on a best practices-basis. In this way we could benefit from the experiences of other companies using the application.

– Once the project portfolio was configured, we knew that we can rely on the supplier’s experience in the areas of emphasis of the application portfolio.

– It was a huge plus that we could benefit from Thinking Business’ experience for integrating leadership elements into the project. Thanks to their experts, we avoided getting swamped by details. We were able to run through this phase in a couple of working days.

– After the definitions were completed, we could finish up the parameters in a few additional days, thus enabling us to implement the application according to the original schedule.

Increased clarity and transparency thanks to application portfolio

In the past all applications of the City of Oulu were documented in Excel. The introduction of the application portfolio provided clarity, better comparisons, as well as improved analysis and reporting features. This, in turn, will enhance future application planning and decision-making on a larger scale. All in all, transparency has been improved in the IT sector.

Furthermore, compared to the Excel protocols, working with the application portfolio saves working hours on many levels. In order to maximize its full potential, it is important to have descriptions of all applications in the portfolio. Saarela explains that the City’s organizational units are responsible for supplementing any application information missing from the portfolio. Otherwise the applications are excluded from common processes, such as budgeting, risk management and other management processes.

– The application portfolio is used, for example, during financial assessment procedures for presenting necessary application.

– During organizational changes, the portfolio’s data is used for revising and updating any ownership changes and contractual matters.

– The portfolio provides us with information regarding the criticality, usage time and service type of a given application, i.e. whether the service is provided by our own data center or if the application is cloud-based.

– The portfolio allows reviewing the entire IT architecture of the City, something that was not possible with Excel. Now we are able to utilize various applications within our organizations more smoothly than before.

– The portfolio provides a unified view into different perspectives of various user groups. This type of uniform data is an effective leadership tool.

From crisis control to proactive IT management

Saarela states that based on six months of user experience, the City of Oulu is pleased with the procurement, which has turned out to be a success on many levels.

– The price-quality ratio is definitely right. We did not even need to train people. The application pays for itself quickly, because users do not require training into the use of the tool. We only need to orientate them to our own way of operating it.

– The cloud service is an easy-to-use service model for us. There have been no service blackouts, and the software itself is very reliable.

– Thinking Portfolio has increased our level of maturity while speeding up our processes.

– One of the most comforting aspects is that we have been able to evolve from crisis control to proactive IT architecture management. The process owner is truly able to handle IT matters; not the other way around.

Additional information:

Juha Saarela

Juha Saarela,
IT Specialist, City of Oulu
Juha.saarela@ouka.fi

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