Why aren’t your portfolios converged?
September 12, 2019 by Mohit Doshi
Convergence is everywhere. We use “Roku” to converge and integrate our streaming experiences, hyper-converged infrastructure is the rage in the data center world, and of course, there is no better example than the iPhone for the converged experience. So why aren’t your IT Portfolios converged?
Simple answer? Because there was no need! It was common to see projects, applications, architecture, technology, or infrastructure portfolios kept in silos. In the traditional SDLC world:
- Project Managers would define their investments, prioritize them using their internalized criteria or innate knowledge, get allocated resources through the duration of the project, govern them, and see them through completion
- Architects would model their blueprints in an EA repository; solution architects would manually craft their diagrams in Visio or similar drawing tools and then “govern” the solution to completion.
- CIOs would define KPIs and monitor and convey progress using a BI / MIS solution.
And this process would repeat each year. There was no external “Force” that mandated a change in these siloed data and processes. As years went by, the additional controls, business rules, and business logic built into these legacy repositories made it even harder to change.
However, “Digital Transformation” changes all that. It is the force that has now penetrated the connective tissue of an enterprise. Every enterprise is a digital enterprise, and every worker a digital worker. In that context, organizations are not delivering projects or solutions. They are producing digital products. So how is planning differently in the digital transformation context?
- Unlike projects that are transactional in nature, digital products are continuously evolving from one MVP to the next. Instead of aligning and governing against an “identified” approved budget, it is more critical to define aspirational budgets. These budgets are akin to placing bets and monitoring against that aspirational fund based on value delivered.
- Resources can no longer be guaranteed through the duration of the product as the product lifecycles are not confined to a fixed length. As a result, it becomes imperative to capture “knowledge” and “facts” from one evolution to the next for the shared, dynamic, resource pool.
- Traditional EA value centers of models and governance are diminished in the highly iterative product-centric world. Instead, modern, design thinking Enterprise Architects are increasingly moving “left” or upstream in the product design process. They are helping PMOs identify what platforms to leverage, what areas have the highest velocity of changes, help them understand what workstreams are delivering what products and how to best rectify technical debt from one cycle to the next.
- CIOs aspire to align their stories against their digital ambitions codified into an operating model. They want to view their IT in the context of their operating models.
Digital transformation cannot be delivered via isolated portfolios. It is the force that mandates portfolio convergence in the business context. PMOs, Architects, and CIOs collaborate, track, measure, govern leveraging a converged portfolio view across projects, capabilities, applications, technologies, infrastructure, and digital products. Convergence does not imply “putting everything into a single system.” It means virtually integrating vital elements of these portfolios to perform cross-portfolio functions. Exercises such as prioritization, current to future state landscape, or CIO dashboards are then use cases on top of this converged portfolio.
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