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CIOs are under enormous pressure to produce measurable results that align with enterprise strategy and corporate objectives. Delivering those results is critical to justifying the expanding role of IT throughout the organization. As a result, many CIOs are racing to implement practices to facilitate their ability to make strategic decisions and to make them quickly.

Project portfolio management (PPM) solutions have the potential to provide the in-depth decision support CIOs need to answer these questions. In practice, however, many of these tools fail to provide the reliable insights you need to justify your investment decisions. The problem is that some tools implemented to solve a PPM problem take a siloed approach. Each answers a particular question. However, few capture the interdependencies linking demand, resources, finances, and projects. It's like asking a coach to prepare for a game with star players who have never played together. These silos form a prohibitive barrier that hampers effective decision making.

A 2006 survey of over 1,400 CIOs from around the world noted that linking business strategy with IT planning is the second most important strategic management priority for 2006 through 2009. Stand alone solutions hinder this linkage by putting project variables in separate silos, geared more toward discrete projects than enterprise-wide portfolio management. This oversimplified methodology, while on the surface easier to implement, makes it difficult, if not impossible, to analyze and address the complex problems of resource allocation at a strategic level.

Such solutions don't effectively link proposed projects and programs to wider business goals. They can't help with the evaluation of project investments based on key business objectives, available resources, and finances. They can't tie the skills of available employees and contractors to current and future projects. Ultimately, fragmented attempts to solve the PPM problem can't provide guidance on how to shift resources to optimize efficiency and drive growth and profits.

For example, when making plans about whether to green light future projects, CIOs need to know whether they will have the right resources available to staff them, whether they can be financed, whether these new projects depend on the success of projects currently in play, and whether these projects are currently on target. Typically, very little, if any, of this information is connected. The new project pipeline, project dependencies, project status and available resources, resource availability and IT financial information are usually stored in discrete, disconnected applications.


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