Recently I attended a series of client workshops concerning the collection and use of their IT financial data. The discussions centered on how to effectively allocate their IT spend on Fixed Assets, Fixed and Variable Operating Costs, Storage Costs, Server Costs, and Applications. These workshops were important to the client because in order to achieve valid Benchmarks, or a Bill-of-IT for showback and chargeback, costs must be properly allocated amongst the entity’s programs, contracts, and Business Units (BU). (more…)
Since my last blog post on Economic Benefits Analysis, I immersed myself in the principles of Technology Business Management (TBM) as a means for CIOs and IT Managers to better show how they produce value for their organizations. TBM helps IT professionals distinguish themselves as strategic partners in driving business strategies, and makes them enablers of “Business Growth” and “Business Transformation” rather than just another cost center or commodity needed for only “Running the Business”. In fact, all the work I have done up to now for my clients in evaluating the benefits and costs of investing in Major Automated Information Systems (MAIS) has, in an oblique sort of way, been an attempt to show IT Business Value. Now that I understand this, I have determined that in some ways I have failed my clients by not showing them how to use this Value-of-IT information in conversations with executive management, Business Unit (BU) owners, and service vendors. Even though I met the specifics for contract delivery, I could have helped my clients to exploit their now documented value and cost transparency by positioning them as business and strategy decision makers. From here on out, I will be approaching my IT Economic Benefits and IT Business Case Analysis work from a TBM point of view.
Last month, I completed my first Ironman Triathlon in Boulder, Colorado; this was a huge personal accomplishment in itself, but I missed my target by about an hour. Sure, I was happy to have completed, but still not satisfied with the result! The feeling was similar to implementing a new strategy within your organization, only to fall short of achieving the objectives you had set. Upon missing my goal, I spent some time over the next few weeks reflecting on the amazing journey I had taken and wondering what I could have done different. It didn’t take too long for me to recognize the issue. Yes, I had understood the dedication, and lifestyle changes that were necessary to complete an Ironman, but I did not have the expertise to take me to the next level. Like so many things in business and life, bringing in a coach or expert would have helped early in the planning stages and ultimately improved the results.
Software implementations within companies have gotten a bad rap.
Browse the internet for a few minutes, and you will find staggering statistics ranging as high as 80% of projects within organizations being recognized as failures. I don’t believe that the software is to blame, but instead, I believe that the company doing the implementation does not have a clear idea of what they should truly be focusing on during their project. I suspect that in many cases they misunderstand the difference between ‘Installation’ and ‘Implementation’. It doesn’t have to be this way. (more…)
Last week I was approached by a prospective customer who was struggling to get buy in from their senior leadership team for a project they would like to start. I asked her, “what’s the value of your project?” and she proceeded to tell me about how much the project would help the organization and the huge impact it would have on their internal customers. (more…)
During a previous blog, I wrote about cost growth crowding out defense capability. This blog focuses on options for making defense more affordable by presenting options to reduce costs in the defense budget’s three largest cost drivers.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that operations and maintenance cost growth will grow faster than the rate of inflation despite the department’s reductions in active duty personnel. The three largest O&M cost drivers (in order) are: health care, civilian workforce, and weapon system sustainment.
In today’s world, every penny being spent is heavily scrutinized. Major acquisition and procurement offices are being forced to reduce costs and do more with less as budgets get slashed. So how can programs continue to run successfully if the money they planned for simply isn’t going to be there when it comes time for them to spend it? This is a situation where” Should Cost” Analysis (as opposed to “Will Cost“ Analysis) can come into play.
In service management, upstreaming refers to a direction toward which the delivery and support of a service could be completed by an organization or department upstream in the tier structure of support and delivery. Too often, we find that organizations are stuck in a “downstream mode”. Maybe because they believe that upstream-tiered organizations like the service desk lack the skills and capabilities to deliver and support their services. Or it could be that the service desk does not feel as if they have the necessary personnel and knowledge to handle the upstreaming? Or could it be that the organization believes that upstreaming would be too expensive and inefficient?
This is an incredible time and an incredibly challenging time for project, program, and portfolio managers. If this sounds a little like Charles Dickens’ opening line for A Tale of Two Cities, then you’re spot on. It is the best of times for innovations (big data and data analytics, quantifying risks, and organizational analysis, to name a few) in project, program, and portfolio management and managing a project or a portfolio of programs and projects that can harness these and other innovations, but it’s also the worst of times because project, program, and portfolio managers are expected to deliver successful outcomes for their companies, stakeholders, and constituencies despite managing in an environment of financial and resource austerity. The mantra is not so much “Do more with less” as it is “Do a lot more with what you have because that’s all you’re getting, and we need results.” (more…)
Russia is at it again – fighting with its neighbors and encouraging others to join the fray. In addition to the fighting on the ground, the conflict has spread into cyberspace. Is this cyber conflict, cyber-attacks, or a prelude to cyber war? The international community and security experts have made progress towards defining cyber war, but are not quite there yet. Despite the gravity of the attacks between the nation states of Russia and Ukraine, experts have yet to agree on what to call the cyber activity that occurs whenever Russia is involved in a conflict with one of the former members of the Soviet Union. (more…)