One of our clients counted over four thousand individual pieces of software in use in their company. Certainly only a handful of these are business critical, others are tools that assist in performing various tasks. Do you know which of your hundreds of IT applications are critical, how they serve your business now and in the future, and if there are redundancies or omissions you should be aware of? Does your IT portfolio help in answering these questions?
An IT portfolio with a 360 degree view
Many people think of IT application portfolios as databases for technical and administrative data. This is one of the reasons why business and IT managers often have difficulties in communicating with each other about the business value of IT. An IT application portfolio that is built from both the business and the IT management view can be the needed, missing link.
Defining the right information for your IT application portfolio requires input from the following stakeholders:
- The owner of the application
- The users of the application
- The IT management
The owners should know more than just the costs
What kind of information would, for example, the owner of the application be interested in? They would obviously want to know the amount of money it takes to own and run the system. That is the information they already get and focus on, and therein lies the problem. They have little means for understanding how valuable the application is and what risks are related to it.
An IT portfolio that contains information on business value, performance and risks, helps the owner to identify any need for improvement and to time their decisions right.
Knowing the connections is vital
Critical IT systems are never stand-alone solutions. An important piece of information that the IT application portfolio should contain is how each individual application integrates with other systems. Showing this critical information helps the application owner understand the effects any changes would induce on the connected systems. Instead of focusing on one particular application, the picture becomes more complete.
Tell the story visually
Thinking Portfolio® presents the connections of an individual application as a dynamic graphical diagram, with the following information:
- Interconnected applications
- The direction of information flow between applications
- The criticality of the connection
- The technique used to build the connection
The diagram is drawn automatically, so any changes in the integration description become visible at once.
An IT portfolio is the right tool to identify and manage critical IT applications. When it serves the needs of all the stakeholders, not just those of IT management, it improves the business results that you can get from your IT applications.