Lars R. Andersen
Freelance CIO/CTO • Management consultant • Project manager • IT architect
Please note that the information here contains my personal viewpoints and not those of any present or previous employer
IT management is a large subject – IT strategy, IT transformation, project and portfolio management, enterprise architecture, sourcing, organisation etc. The pages here contain selective reviews of areas of IT management.
At the core of building an IT strategy is the process of making a direction and plan for the IT applications of a company, division etc. that ensures support for the business strategy. For organisations that depend heavily on IT like financial and telecommunication services, the core part of the IT strategy should ideally be developed as an integral part of the business strategy.
Apart from the application plan, an IT strategy also contains direction and plan for operations and sourcing and, of course, estimated financial implications of the plan.
Further details and a generic IT strategy process can be found here: IT strategy.
Transforming any non-trivial IT application stack is invariably a major, painful undertaking. As applications are aging and integrations become increasingly complex, many companies face the need to replace all or major portions of the application stack. Furthermore, the need for “digitalisation”, i.e. the ability to offer extensive self service, uniform experience across channels and partnering, may also push for replacement of systems.
In order to minimise the pain in the project and reduce the burden of future maintenance, the use of standardised systems is important. Therefore, an IT transformation process should be two-way: selecting and adapting the right system and adapting internal processes to conform with the system.
Further details and a process to achieve IT transformation this way can be found here: IT Transformation.
In this context, IT sourcing is the process of procuring IT solutions and services. Since shifting costs are significant once a solution has been implemented, making the right choices and ensuring commercial balance, also after contract signature, is very important.
This requires that a competitive process where the commercial pressure on vendors in this process is utilised to ensure attractive terms.
As there are significant pitfalls associated with using the contracts typically suggested by the vendors, it can be beneficial to start with contracts written by the customer. This goes in particular for some of the vendors of cloud-based solutions. However, this can be a significant undertaking that needs to be balanced against the risk and complexity of the solution.
Further details on procurement and contracts can be found here: IT procurement and contracts.
The task of holding overview and securing progress of a number of related projects is often termed program management. To some extent it is simply a matter of size: if a project becomes large enough, the mechanisms required for managing it begins to resemble that of program management.
As the term “program” and correspondingly “program management” has quite a number of interpretations, an important first step is to agree on the purpose and scope of the program management and corresponding program management office.
As a minimum, the program should contain a reporting structure with regular progress reports based on objective criteria. Issue and risk identification, resolution and follow-up, tool support etc. are optional additions, depending upon preference and complexity.
Further details on program management can be found here: IT Program Management.