The COVID pandemic accelerated the upgrade of digital engagement for organizations already providing multi-channel digital experience. At the same time, long-established brick-and-mortar businesses have been forced to venture into digital offerings for the first time. Almost overnight, customers expect platform-independent, consistent, and seamless digital experiences.
Organizations use a wide rage of IT applications to execute and automate critical business processes that enable them to offer such experiences. These applications are powered by a broad spectrum of technologies like APIs, application servers, databases, middleware, operating systems, identity management solutions, etc. Such technologies form the IT backbone of an organization. If managed properly, the technological landscape can enable the organization to move forward in leaps and bounds and scale new heights.
The sheer diversity and number of technologies creates serious challenges. Constant change due to new releases and new technologies introduced through projects and acquisitions exacerbates this problem. Failure to get this problem under control can cripple and paralyze an organization due to high costs, failed projects, poor quality digital offerings, and security issues. A structured, business-like approach to managing IT through prudent investments in existing and new technologies can help achieve strategic objectives without breaking the bank. This makes it essential to have a robust, effective, and efficient Technology Portfolio Management (TPM) practice. Here’s what you can do:
- Establish a single source-of-truth about the organization’s technologies: It is imperative to know what technologies are used in an organization and where they are used. Top-down and bottom-up impact analysis can increase transparency and ease transformation planning. This will help the organization, for example, to understand the impact of poor performance/potential obsolescence of an API on a critical business process.
- Set up a catalog of technology standards: Create and maintain a standards catalog that establishes guardrails for technology usage. To reduce risk exposure, any new technology being introduced should undergo a rigorous approval process so that standards are adhered to. Grant exceptions only after a thorough investigation and conduct periodic checks of the technology to minimize exceptions.
- Close technology gaps: It is critical to understand which strategically important and digitally relevant business process/operation is not properly automated/digitalized due to a missing piece of technology. Plan initiatives to close such technology gaps.
- Consolidate redundancies and save costs: Sometimes different technologies are used to support the same business operations. While there may be good reasons for this, technology consolidation ensures consistency and seamlessness in the digital experience and offers potential cost benefits.
- Adapt planning and prioritization: Track, prioritize, and plan initiatives like replacing obsolete technologies, closing technology gaps, and consolidating similar technologies. As no organization possesses infinite resources, prioritization is paramount. Investment in transformation initiatives can be made using the principles of portfolio management. Basically, IT should be run like a profitable business.
- Ensure complete and accurate data: Sound data is the foundation for sound decision-making. The TPM repository should be integrated with third-party systems to keep information regarding technologies up to date. Appoint data stewards who periodically validate the accuracy of information.
- Adopt a holistic approach: TPM doesn’t exist in a vacuum. An integrated IT portfolio management approach that combines the management of application, technology, and investment portfolios better aligns IT investments with business objectives and ultimately leads to higher customer satisfaction.
Establishing robust, effective, and efficient management of your technology portfolio requires the right approach. Tame your TPM tiger and set up a TPM practice that will ensure the IT backbone of success.