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Author: Elyse, PMP, CPHIMS
August 17, 2008

As we examine portfolio projects one of the key questions is did we launch the right mix of projects? Have we balanced our strategic initiatives with a smooth blend of operational endeavors with a smidgeon of mandatory requirements? One has to examine the portfolio from a holistic stance.

Normally, I like to breakout the demand into three groupings: capital, operational, and application support. Capital is the strategic demand, for capital requests are board approved endeavors and simply must be accomplished. Operational relates to departmental demand. These are the requests from the departments to automate business processes, and where a lot of the customizations, enhancements and variations to products are requested. Some refer to this as making a system sing, just be cautious on the time invested. Finally, there is the application support categorization. These are the routine demands to keep the systems running and up to date.

I've seem the gambit from currently striving for 100% strategic initiatives to 95% operational department requests. In my opinion your blend equates directly to the organizations usage of IT, is it a strategic enabler, or is it an operational expense of doing business. Typically, I refer to this gap between expense driven organization to a strategic enabler as the IT value chasm. Monitoring this metric is helpful to quickly identify the value of the IT organization. If you are crossing the it value chasm, the numbers should change in the direction of strategic enabler.

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