uGovernIT

A Practical Approach for IT Governance

Archive for October 2011

IT Governance For SMBs Desiring to Outsource

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IT Governance helps align IT activities to best meet Small to Mid-Sized Business (SMBs) requirements.  Most Governance methodologies start with alignment at the top.  This is a reasonable approach for all organizations where the traditional involvement of board-level executives in IT issues was to defer all key decisions to the company’s IT professionals. IT governance helps facilitate decision making across all stakeholders. This prevents IT from independently making and later being held solely responsible for poor decisions.

From a IT Governance standpoint, Small to Mid-Sized Businesses (SMBs) differ from the larger firms in two important aspects:  One, they are more nimble and need flexibility, and second, they tend to focus on shorter-term issues.  For SMBs, the guiding principle is to deliver value to the business without injecting onerous controls that stifle productivity.   To achieve it, the IT Governance framework should provide complete transparency on IT activities and make it simple for users to make, monitor and prioritize IT requests.  In order to achieve transparency, SMBs will need to establish controls and processes to deliver quality technology solutions on time and within allocated budgets.  From a management perspective, it is critical to effectively allocate and track resources and costs.

Outsourcing can actually enable effective IT Governance as it provides a scalable resource base to work in conjunction with internal IT resources.  To make outsourcing successful, the outsourcer’s governance framework must work seamlessly with the SMB’s IT Governance.  Mismatches in the Governance frameworks is one the principal causes of outsourcing failures.  Although mismatches can be best reduced by adopting a common process-centric framework, it is far from easy to implement common processes across two organizations.  A less expensive approach is to identify key risk areas in the process and establish clear mitigation strategies.

Written by Subbu Murthy

October 24, 2011 at 11:06 am

Posted in IT Governance

Analytics Versus Statistics

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I was reading an article in the CIO magazine (Sep 15, 2011) “Using Analytics to Make Social Media Profitable” by Stephanie Overby.  She described how analytics was used to boost revenues by forecasting the impact of promotions and assessing individuals social graph to predict and personalize targeted promotions.  While the specifics of the analytics was not given, I began to wonder how loosely the term analytics are used.  In the context above, it was not very clear whether the prediction was based on statistics or analytics.  The difference is that statistics refer to analysis of past data whereas analytics is a measure that gives a “sense of direction”.  Analytics can use statistical parameters such as estimation or statistical correlation; however the analytic goes beyond statistics.  It gives a “degree of proximity” to a targeted goal to enable “intelligent” decision making.  Well-designed analytics provide for integrated intelligence to manage resources efficiently, manage project/product portfolios, manage risk appropriately, and facilitate alignment of these entities to business needs.

Written by Subbu Murthy

October 23, 2011 at 1:28 am

Posted in Analytics

Internal Versus External Analytics

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Most organizations tend to build top down (macro analytics) or bottom up (micro analytics).  Just to recap, macro analytics is analogous to macroeconomics – dealing with the whole whereas microeconomics deals with a specific domain or area.   Macro analytics is developed top down from the Board/C-Level suite down to operational management, whereas micro analytics is developed from the operational level to the C-Level suite.  Another framework to help understand analytics is internal versus external analytics.  Internal analytics depend on internal financial or operational data, whereas external analytics depend on market conditions including competition, regulation, and supply chain.

Some of the challenges in developing analytics:  The first challenge is analysis-paralysis. This is particularly true for macro analytics.  Getting consensus is a big challenge as identifying the Key Performance Indicators that depict organizational performance is difficult to get acceptance.   A second challenge in developing analytics is that some analytics are easy to identify and build whereas some are more complicated.  In general internal analytics are easier to identify whereas external analytics are more difficult.  A solution to quickly developing analytics is to use an evolutionary approach building on analytics which are quickly identifiable and get easy consensus and build on them.  Most toolkits support this evolutionary model, so it is best to adopt agile practices.  Traditional waterfall models will not be effective for developing analytics.

Written by Subbu Murthy

October 15, 2011 at 11:21 am

Posted in Analytics

uGovernIT Release R1

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Blogs are meant to share thoughts, not run a propaganda.  Therefore when a blog has a title uGovernIT Release R1, it does sound like, and frankly is propaganda.  But years of dedicated work by a great development team led by my CTO, justifies this advertorial blog.

uGovernIT provides a simple but a complete IT Governance system including a ticketing system to manage service desk, a change management system, a project request and tracking system, asset management, and resource management.  It provides complete transparency into the IT initiatives, resource allocation, project prioritization, issues and challenges faced, and the planning and budgeting process.

Through use of dashboards and IT analytics, uGovernIT provides integrated intelligence about IT to manage resources efficiently, manage project portfolios, manage risk appropriately, and facilitate alignment to business needs. uGovernIT has three components:

  • Service Management System
  • Virtual PMO
  •  CIO Assist™

ServiceManagement System provides the basic ticketing system, user facing wizards to help users quickly and easily make user requests, mobile module to help IT manage user requests quickly, asset and change management modules to ensure the integrity of delivered services.

Virtual PMO is an integrated Project and Resource Management System that includes a resource allocation and tracking system, and a sophisticated project request and triaging system to help prioritize the project request and help management track the projects costs, schedule, risk and assess the project performance.

CIO Assist™  is essentially a set of customizable IT Dashboards based on business intelligence using IT Analytics to help assess how well IT is performing, assess ROI of IT investments, manage portfolio of projects, conduct IT assessments, and maintain a IT Balanced Scorecard as a benchmark of the value created by technology investments.

Written by Subbu Murthy

October 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Posted in IT Governance

Role of Macro Analytics in IT Governance

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ITIL provided a set of metrics which are very specific and cover a few specific measurements.  These analytics can be termed Micro-Analytics. A Balanced Scorecard view provides macro analytics.  Macro analytics is analogous to macroeconomics – dealing with the whole whereas microeconomics deals with a specific domain or area.

Macro IT Analytics can be classified into four groups:

  • Managing the Services Delivered (user perspective)
  • Managing the Resources (staff perspective)
  • Managing Value Delivered to the Enterprise
    (financial perspective)
  • Managing External Factors

User centered IT analytics includes customer happiness, response time, ability to triage and prioritize requests, and managing defects. Staff centered IT analytics include staff morale, resource utilization, transparency, productivity and turnover. Financial IT analytics includes number of capital projects, return on investments (ROI), variance and percentage of IT expenditures on new projects. External IT analytics includes outside threats, Disaster Recovery (DR) incidents, technology adoption velocity and percentage of budget allocated to contingency.  These four groups can be combined to provide a benchmark of IT itself.

Written by Subbu Murthy

October 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

Posted in Analytics

Search Engine Optimization

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A good friend of mine, and head of a trusted IT services company, Vishal Vasu wrote this excellent blog on SEO. He provides guidance on not being too “flashy”, maintaining the right Directory structure (not nesting it over three levels), talks about the criticality of having the right text in the first 20 lines, etc. Read more at

http://www.vishalvasu.com/seo-tips-for-web-site-designing/

Good work Vishal.

Written by Subbu Murthy

October 8, 2011 at 9:17 am

Posted in Social Networking