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Enterprise Portfolio Management in Business Intelligence E-mail
Written by Dan Beckett   

More than 160 senior IT managers and executives gathered at the Piedmont Center in Buckhead Atlanta, GA, for an informative morning of presentations followed by a CIO Panel discussion.

A Portfolio can be defined as the “organization, practices, process and the collection of assets” within an organization, so stated Greg Levins, Director of Business Intelligence at COMSYS. In the BI context portfolio management seeks to address control of the portfolio, but must  include management of the business data also.

Portfolio management focuses on the ability to “manage between IT and the business, enabling prioritization, and health-checks of ongoing projects, not just for process, costs or budget, but for validity against business objectives too”. Effective portfolio management must re-evaluate in-flight projects against changing business scenarios and objectives.

On the subject of output from project evaluations Levins stated, “bad news can't wait, but it must be used objectively.”

BI portfolio management seeks to bridge gaps between functional and business silos. It is an enterprise undertaking, but can only be so is sponsors, and stakeholders are engaged across the enterprise. “Pulling data from all [business] verticals, does not create an enterprise solution.” An enterprise solution requires authority, funding, prioritization, scope, and recognition of cost avoidance or economies of scale across the business, not from a single project or program sponsor.

Levins believes that authority is the key to successful BI portfolio management. Without effective broad based authority, time and money is wasted in internal battles for every step of progress. One approach to help overcome territorial disputes and difficulties is to ensure the business are included in the process, and to provide open visibility of the portfolio management process as it is developed and applied.

Levins pointed out that BI solutions are business assets, so the business should have visibility, challenging the audience “You would inspect a house that you were having built, wouldn't you?”


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