The Way Business Is Moving published by
Issue Date: October 2008

Staying on course: the guide to identifying, managing and reducing complexity

1 October 2008

In this month’s column, Gary Lawrence, country manager of CA, touches on the bottom line – how to do more with less and deliver greater value for your organisation.
Doom and gloom certainly seems to be at the top of the global news agenda in 2008. Pick up any newspaper or magazine, turn on the television or tune into your favourite radio station and you will no doubt be confronted with news about record oil prices, tumbling property prices and a general squeeze on the economy.
IT has not escaped the downturn. In fact, IT organisations are under even more pressure to deliver tangible results faster with the same, or in many instances, reduced budgets. Whilst IT budgets may be finite, the demands on IT often seem to be infinite.
In today’s highly challenging environment, simply working faster is not enough. IT managers need to utilise resources better, revise management processes for greater efficiency and focus even more on their people.
Specifically, IT managers should consider:
* Managing what the business already has: this involves consolidating infrastructure, knowing what resources exist and how they are being used, reducing redundancy and increasing utilisation.
* Managing change: consider a change management process that can support the rapidly changing needs of the business whilst at the same time minimising the cost and disruption of change.
* Measuring results: measure and understand the impact that IT has on key business processes such as order throughput.
* Practicing governance: IT managers need to ensure that their people, processes and technology all support business initiatives and meet legal and regulatory mandates.
Governance should be seen as a next logical step, given the central role that technology plays in meeting legislative and regulatory demands. It should not be seen as a hindrance, but rather be embraced to earn that seat at the boardroom table.
Project and portfolio management
Project and portfolio management (PPM) is also gaining increasing popularity as a way to plan, manage, measure and prioritise IT projects across the enterprise. Once the combination of PPM and governance is in place, it is a small step to apply change management and financial management principles. By doing so, you can ensure that IT investments deliver as intended and can be managed effectively. This will also allow for sufficient flexibility to accommodate change while providing an acceptable level of return to the business.
PPM and IT asset management provide some of the best capabilities for managing risk and costs. These two disciplines provide the IT governance oversight needed to ensure proper resource usage, management of programme and programme cross-dependencies and control of contractual obligations and financial investments.
Last, but not least, and something that is often overlooked is people. If you are to derive the greatest possible return on your IT investments, you need great IT staff. By nature of its description the IT manager’s role is technical, but people remain their most valuable asset.
It is all about striking a balance between finding and retaining the best people and deploying the right technology that will deliver the most benefit to the business in a cost effective manner.

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