Note to the Reader, this Blog was superceded by this Re-Do Blog on the IM/IT Lifecycle.
The previous blog introduced the SWOT+4 Planning Model. The value of the model is the ability to focus on specific elements of IM/IT planning. Once an organization is successful with one part of the model, it can move on to other areas needing improvement. This blog will introduce a tool to evaluate the robustness of an organization’s IM/IT lifecycle. Intended to be an introduction, future blogs will drill down further.
One of the first areas of model to evaluate is internally focused on the IM/IT needs and capabilities of the organization. In the SWOT+4 model these are represented by the organization’s IM/IT strengths and weaknesses and specifically questions 2 and 3:
- Q2. ORGANIZATIONAL IM/IT: How can/does/should IM/IT support or impede what is important to the organization; does the organization have the right IM/IT and if not, when will it get it? (Answered by IM/IT Lifecycle Steps 01 through 16)
- Q3. IM/IT CAPACITY: How well does the organization DO IM/IT, is it getting better, worse or about the same? (Answered by IM/IT Lifecycle Step 00)
Context for the IM/IT Lifecycle Model
The IM/IT Lifecycle Model is an adaptation of the Asset Lifecycle Model (source pending). While the Asset Lifecycle Model focuses on the management of tangible assets, the IM/IT variation is concerned with the acquisition of things like computers and technology systems. The governance, system and audit functions at the bottom of the model are used to answer questions #3, what is an organization’s IM/IT capacity? All the other steps answer question #2, what are the organization’s IM/IT needs and are (or when/how will) these needs to be fulfilled.
IM/IT resources move through the model from left to right and may use more or less of each step depending upon the nature of the system being acquired. Of note is step 03, the Project Management Office (PMO). This replaces the requirements specification in the Asset Lifecycle Model but is broader and ideally encompasses other steps. For example, a good PMO methodology incorporates procurement processes such as issuing requests for proposals (Step 04), managing resulting vendor contracts (Step 05) and managing the vendor provision of assets, software, licenses or consulting services (Step 07).
Direct Attribute Costs (Step 09) and System Business Operations (Step 10) are purposely overlapped. Direct Attribute costs are the resources the organization brings to bear to implement a system. Examples can include the dedicated project staffing or costs to retrofit a data centre to accommodate new servers supporting an application. System Business Operations by contrast are the costs and effort to commission the system and bring it online. From an organizational perspective, Step 10 asks (and answers) the question, does the IM/IT resource meet the business needs identified for the asset?
Enterprise Resource Planning and the IM/IT Lifecycle
Included in each step are possible metrics as well as the information system such as the organization’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool that may support the step. For brevity, the following ERP components are used:
- (1. Budgeting): the planning, monitoring and resource allocation functions.
- (2. Procure to Pay): from requisition to payment including the treasury management functions.
- (3. Asset management): the receipt, installation, maintenance, tracking and disposal of assets.
- (4. Accounting to Reporting): the proper accounting, record keeping and reporting (internal and external) of assets.
The purpose of this blog was to introduce the IM/IT Lifecycle Framework and place it in context to the SWOT+4 Model. In future blogs, I plan to drill down on each of the Steps and provide examples of systems, standards and best practices across organizations.
What do you think? Does your organization use a systematic method such as the IM/IT Lifecycle to plan, implement and manage your IM/IT investments? Where do your systems potentially lie within the model? For example, does your organization have a systematic PMO function or do you even know what is in your application fleet? Drop me a note and send me a comment with your perspectives.