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"To make a difference to their business, CIOs must move beyond IT portfolio management to exert greater influence over IT supply and demand."

RICHARD BARTON, PA IT EXPERT

CIOs need to go beyond portfolio management by exerting greater influence over IT supply and demand

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are moving away from their traditional roles as "technology stewards" and increasingly taking on the responsibilities of an investment manager, deciding where funds should go to best meet their company's objectives, according to a new study. The report by Chip Gleidman, Bobby Cameron and Tim DeGennaro for technology research specialist Forrester said these executives and their teams need to develop a "portfolio approach".

In the case of IT, the firm said the portfolio comprises projects, existing assets and spending on equipment and infrastructure. Effectively managing IT requires "disciplined processes" that produce buy, sell or hold decisions to maximise return on investment while minimising risk.

Commenting on the findings, PA Consulting Group's IT expert Richard Barton said he supports the "shift in focus" for IT executives. However, as well as the need for CIOs to look at the IT portfolio, it is also critical that they go further, exerting influence over IT supply and demand.

"PA believes the answer is for the CIO to take the lead in introducing a more business-like approach to IT. We call this commercialising IT, as it means embedding good commercial disciplines into the way IT is run, including:

  • managing IT demand to contribute to business success

  • orchestrating a network of external partners to supply IT services.

"The steps to achieving this change will vary for each organisation, but PA has found that the typical stages include: getting the basics right and running IT as a professional business support service; achieving transparency in IT costs and cost drivers; and building deeper relationships and engaging in a richer dialogue with business units and suppliers. Clearly this is compatible with a portfolio management approach but is possibly an even greater shift in focus for many CIOs".

Read more about PA's approach to commercialising IT or contact us now to speak to a PA expert.