A Portfolio Management Case StudyAndy Jordan
Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at email@example.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.
This year one of my clients took dramatic action to respond to the economic downturn: They decided to revisit the entire 2009 portfolio of technology projects to ensure that they were still focused on the right things in this new economic reality. In this article I’ll try and walk you through the process and provide some insight into what I learned.
What we did
The technology projects for this year were the product of a late summer planning session and the subsequent follow -up work. Some were related to strategic IT initiatives, some were in support of major business unit projects and others were part of the constant drive for improved efficiency and automation. The result was a prioritized list of initiatives that would move the company forward in 2009 and build a strong foundation for 2010 and beyond.
Since late last summer, the world has changed. As the first quarter of 2009 drew to a close, we decided to revisit our projects and see whether or not they were still appropriate. This wasn’t a fundamental shift in direction--our strategic direction hadn’t changed. But we needed to decide whether a slight change in focus was necessary; the economic turmoil created a need to consolidate some areas to a greater extent than had previously been envisaged. However, at the same time it created new opportunities--potential new revenue streams to
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"There is nothing more difficult than talking about music."
- Camille Saint-Saens
The objective of facilitating application management and reporting has been reached
Finavia Oyj is a service company maintaining a network of 25 airports in Finland with an air traffic system covering the entire country. The company’s services include, for example, security checks of passengers and luggage, runway maintenance and ensuring safe takeoffs and landings. The company uses over 300 different systems for handling these services, as well as the internal operations of various business units.
Finavia was in need of an application for centralized management of various information systems, which would enable efficient, real-time reporting of the overall status. Additionally, the company felt that the classification of applications, and the analysis and documentation of responsibilities, interfaces and service connections require improvement. Finavia decided to turn to Thinking Portfolio’s application portfolio for help.
Thinking Business is a reliable partner
Finavia has been using the Thinking Portfolio project portfolio since 2009. Its reliability and positive user experiences convinced the company to turn to the same source for application portfolio. The application portfolio has been in use for over a year now and has met all the challenges with flying colors.
The application portfolio provides a business-oriented view to Finavia’s information systems. The portfolio features all workstation and server systems of various business units. Only the operative air control systems are excluded from the portfolio. The portfolio contains, for example, financial administration, and other group administration level systems, as well as property management and airport systems. The application portfolio has been connected to the operational management system, where integration data is imported and dependence and server connections are created between applications.
Team supervisor Kari Walla finds that the life cycle management and reporting views of the applications and their features are among the strengths of the portfolio.
– Before the implementation of application portfolio, we were not able to create a clear overview of all applications in use in our business units. Now we are able to access this data, as well as connections between various servers and applications instantly.
The application portfolio has several applications and its contents are available to the entire staff
The objective of facilitating application management and reporting has been reached. Walta says that Finavia has also found various other uses for the tool.
– For example, in problem situations we are able to quickly determine the business-related criticality of the problematic application and determine necessary measures.
– The life cycle information helps us schedule application and server updates.
– The application portfolio provides a clear view of ICT responsibility distribution. This is helpful in planning resources.
The application portfolio is in extensive use at Finavia. Any employees with access to the company intranet have viewing rights to the application portfolio. The application portfolio maintenance team includes various user groups using the system for various purposes at different volumes. They have customized views to the application, and the Active Directory integration makes logging in effortless. User groups include, for example, system supervisors, main users, management, ICT management, other ICT supervisors and Service Desk staff.
The ICT unit performs, for example, system maintenance-related reviews of the application portfolio. Staff from other units has been able to get acquainted with the application portfolio through these reviews. The interface is considered intuitive, making actual training unnecessary.
The application portfolio is used daily at the Service Desk as well. Processing event and service requests has become quicker. The portfolio contains answers to questions, as well as information for determining task prioritization and referring service requests to the right people.
The management is utilizing the portfolio for evaluating business-related benefits and related development needs of the applications. This is part of the portfolio management process made possible by Thinking Portfolio.
Team Supervisor, Finavia Oyj