Rob Mackinnon

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Conclusion: Last month’s article on this topic was triggered by a January 2006 McKinsey & Co. survey1 on the IT spending patterns of 37 retail and wholesale banks. In essence, it showed that the lowest spenders were judged as delivering the greatest business value from their investment in IT.


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Conclusion: A McKinsey & Co. survey1 of the spending patterns of 37 retail and wholesale banks, published in January 2006 revealed a startling paradox. Those banks judged as delivering the greatest business value from their investment in IT, were also among the lowest spenders.


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Conclusion: Of growing interest to senior IT executives is the effective practice of vendor management. Because this is where many client/vendor relationships commence, IT procurement lies at the very heart of vendor management. This is the second in a series of two articles that highlights the critical nature of IT procurement and some of the steps that can be taken in order to gain effective and timely outcomes.


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Conclusion: Most major IT procurement activity is oriented around acquiring software or services, the impacts of which are likely to have profound, organisation-wide consequences. As such, the cost of making mistakes, or indeed making poor choices, can be extremely high. Some of the consequences may include one or more of the following: 

  • Business benefits not being realised;

  • Budgets being exceeded;

  • Project execution times being extended; and

  • Organisational reputation being damaged.


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Conclusion: At the start of the year a resurgence of interest in Identity Management was heralded as one of a series of IBRS technology predictions for 2007. Subsequent vendor activity1 has borne this out and more market activity is likely to follow.


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Conclusion: Unless CIOs are able to provide business with a balanced and accurate picture of IT performance, it is likely that IT will be treated as ‘just another supplier’ in the minds of senior business executives. Moving IT up the value chain to become trusted and strategic business partners requires more than concerted efforts in delivering projects and keeping the IT lights on. It requires effective marketing and good communication. One of the ways of improving IT credibility is to develop an effective IT scorecard that highlights precisely how IT’s performance supports and indeed, adds value to the business. Further, providing scorecarding data to IT management and staff is likely to provide an incentive for them to lift IT performance levels.


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Conclusion: Through the 1990s many organisations established Project Management Offices (PMOs). Also known as Project Offices and sometimes as Strategic Project Offices, these were generally set up within the IT organisation and were driven by the desire to take a more focused, financially responsible and standardised (read template-driven) approach to project delivery.


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Conclusion: BI technology platforms have been available in various guises for over two decades. Indeed, certain BI terms, such as ‘drill down’ have become embedded into business parlance.

The technology itself is mature and capable and many organisations have harnessed it to their advantage. However, some of our recent dealings with both IT and business executives reveal an underlying dissatisfaction with their BI implementations. Complaints include costly implementations, poor acceptance of the technology, particularly by middle management, and concerns with data quality and integrity. 


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Conclusion: Establishing a Portfolio Management competency is now commonly regarded as best practice for organisations seeking to gain maximum benefit from their investment in IT. Whilst there is growing interest in this practice, many who attempt it are likely to fail, or at the very least find that it won’t deliver the expected outcomes.


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Conclusion: Initially oriented towards IT auditors and control professionals, COBIT1 has matured into a broadly-based governance framework capable of being used by board members and C level executives, such as COOs and CFOs, when seeking to understand and effectively harness IT capabilities. Importantly however, in its new form COBIT also provides a valuable reference guide for the CIO and his or her staff, when wanting to establish a sound framework upon which to improve IT performance at all levels.


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It was also evident that a number of business and IT staff (some quite senior) who had been involved throughout the acquisition and specification process had growing concerns about the process and the path that the project was taking. However, these people had chosen to remain silent, largely it would seem in deference to Mr. H’s ebullient and fearsome style.

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Conclusion: Effective and responsible management of IT security should concern executives at the highest levels of management. Leading practice suggests, but does not mandate, separation of the IT security function from the IT management function. One of the ways that this can be achieved is with the appointment of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) with total accountability for all IT security matters within the organisation. A pro forma Position Description for the CISO role is provided herein.


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Conclusion: In politics it is generally considered that the first 100 days of office are critical for a new leader to assert his or her authority. Insightful and visible actions taken during that time instil confidence in the new leadership and set the right tone for the future. Arguably, a similar dictum applies to IT leadership.


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Conclusion: Shared services commenced as a movement in the early 1990s and rapidly became a worldwide trend in both the private and public sectors. Conceptually the prospect of doing of more with less is appealing. However, anecdotally, there have been just as many failures as successes, especially in the delivery of IT shared services.


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