By: Ben Geller – VP Marketing, Troux
In a recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) blog1 Michael Krigsman stated, “Modern CIOs must reconcile
the gap between their role as protector of corporate information assets and the need to drive organizational innovation and openness. Although bridging these two dimensions of the CIO mandate is difficult, this struggle creates perhaps the greatest opportunity that most CIOs will see [in their career].”
Krigsman went on to state, “Todays CIOs need to balance [stakeholder] demand for transparency while maintaining strict controls and governance to protect the organization creates a demanding situation for even the most seasoned leaders. Nonetheless, the cultural changes [brought] about by the introduction of social networking are a lever that forward-thinking CIOs can use to drive innovation and transform their role in the business.”
In the blog the CIO of Intel Corporation, Kim Stevenson, explains that social networking solves an important problem in large organizations: “The flow of information unintentionally becomes gated as an organization grows, creating silos and making it difficult to find the right person who has the information you need.”
The concept of social networking as a means to liberate important information and streamline its dissemination into the hands of the organization at-large is built on the same core premise that drives Enterprise Portfolio Management (see The Secret to Better Decision Making: How EPM Adds Value to Your Organization). Enterprise Portfolio Management (EPM) seeks to break down the organization into portfolios that categorize and represent the business. EPM seeks to ensure that information contained within these portfolios (Goals & Strategy, Business Capabilities, Investments, Applications, Information and Technology) establishes the business connection and context to the IT assets spread across the organization. EPM seeks to offer a more dynamic means to reach into and across the organization to make sure decision-quality information no longer stagnates in silos. EPM seeks to ensure decision-quality information quickly and efficiently finds its way into the hand of business leaders and decision-makers.
To put it simply, Enterprise Portfolio Management offers a more dynamic means of removing organizational silos, improving the flow of decision making information and, as a consequence, boosting collaboration and an organization’s agility.
We all are quite aware that promoting collaboration inside a large organization doesn’t just happen; it requires a thoughtful plan, coordination, and effort. When it comes to making sure decision-makers have the information they need, the same requirements apply. Traditional office productivity applications such as Excel, Visio and PowerPoint are thought to be a sufficient proxy for decision-making tools. But if you take a closer look they just don’t cut it. While they may be good to capture the inventory of assets that reside within the CIOs’ domain, they fail to capture the connection and relationship of these assets back to the business – in the context of Business Goals and Strategy, Business Capabilities, and Investments. These applications are typically used to capture static information about an organization’s applications, information, and technology assets. By the time this information finds it’s way into the decision-making, it has become stale and inaccurate. Furthermore, the very nature of these applications do not promote collaboration. It’s usually up to the document owner to share the information that has been collected. Certainly not a step in the right direction for organization’s looking to break down silos.
Enterprise Portfolio Management can help create a culture of collaboration. In the WSJ blog Intel’s Stevenson states social networking is a means to transform critical aspects of her company’s culture, especially in relation to power, influence, and knowledge sharing.
She goes on to say that traditional organizations rely on a “one-to-one anointed expertise model,” in which individuals gain power by hoarding, rather than sharing, their knowledge. In this environment, which dominates the private sector and government, collecting knowledge is an important basis for career advancement and prestige. Power and influence based on withholding knowledge creates information silos and disincentives for cooperation across departments or groups; these silos breed inefficiency and inhibit corporate agility.
Enterprise Portfolio Management like social networking can help CIOs change that type of unwanted behavior and create a culture of collaboration. When it comes to social networking adoption and use in enterprise there are many lessons to be learned. These lessons can be directly applied to Enterprise Portfolio Management and the role it plays in decision-making. EPM, like social networking, offers CIOs the means to shift the conversation from technology to strategy and innovation. In addition, because technology inevitably becomes commoditized, focusing on leadership, promoting information transparency, and equipping the organization to make better decisions by seeing IT in the context of business can help CIOs become transformational leaders.