Modern IT Portfolio Management: Investment Profiles

Last night I reviewed of my notes interviewing investment brokers, portfolio managers the past few months and delved deeper into my growing collection of Wiley Finance Series of books. This morning I scanned through ”The Art of Asset Allocation” by David M. Darst searching for the next analogs in financial portfolio management to pair up with IT Portfolio Management. It occurred to me the metaphors currently in usage in wall street: Bulls, Bears and other animals used to characterize investment behavior is close to but not exactly a match for IT Investment. In a previous White paper I had researched and written for Microsoft’s Services division on Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery I had started to layout a third dimensional grid-work on the organizational decision behavior and environment. As I re-read the insight I had working on various aspects of decision science I can see how to apply these learnings plus several other insights to IT Portfolio Investments.

Investor Profiles

The only downside to this approach is that most consulting firms prefer to adhere to the 2×2 matrix. The logic behind such is they feel more than 2×2 or binary decision values confuses management and executives. A little insulting to their clients if you think about it. However, the objective is to communicate quickly to the client not show the complexity and nuance behind the analysis. As such when I develop a more comprehensive tool, I’ll have to have it yield several simple 2×2 views of the decision for ease of understanding. I did this with the design of the Cloud and APM Portfolio Tool for Microsoft IT Strategy and Enterprise Architecture services division a few months ago. The feedback I got from my personal CxO advisory panel were very positive. Expect to have a wireframe of the tool’s output to match the personas I’ve developed ready by end of next month**. The it becomes a decision on what technology to build.

**I like the advice I got from Alan Cooper a few years back; “Design from the outside in”. The common sense of it seems apparent, however, so few companies and developers do such. Today all the rage is teaching developers and consultants to use personas. Unfortunately, the lessons typically stop at using them as sales tools to justify what has already been built rather than design tools to ensure operation and aesthetics match with the enduser’s needs and desires.

Filed under: Content Strategy, Decision Science, Enterprise Architecture, Information Architecture and Design, IT Economics, ITIL, Technology Management Tagged: Alan Cooper, Business, Enterprise architecture, IBM, Investing, IT portfolio management, Microsoft, Operations research

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