UPFRONT Shining light on IT’s black box

Are your information technology department’s projects aligned to your organisation’s strategic goals? Are their projects well prioritised and coordinated? Is your IT department delivering value to your organisation?
These are the questions David Hudson, Singapore-based Asia Pacific vice president for Computer Associates’ Clarity division posed to New Zealand IT and project managers at recent seminars in Wellington and Auckland.
A 20 year plus IT industry veteran whose current role puts him in front of organisations ranging from banks to railways to tourism operators, and from geographies and cultures as diverse as Australasia, Japan and India, Hudson knows well the challenge of extracting value from IT.
He says IT departments will continue to be “black box” until organisations have systems in place to capture the IT needs of the organisation and to prioritise them.
The four major challenges they face in terms of serving organisational needs are: delivering value, tightening budgets (especially compared to the heady days of the internet boom), keeping up with continuing change, and having sufficient resources in terms of people and systems.
Computer Associates’ Clarity product is one of relatively new class of software tools for “portfolio and programme management”. It brings together into one place all of an organisation’s demands so it can review which projects it should be working on.
Hudson says Clarity provides dashboard overview of all the projects that an IT department – or for that matter the whole organisation – is working on. It can integrate with Microsoft Project, which deals with project management at an operational level and with financial systems such as SAP and Oracle. And it can be accessed through web browser by people out of the office.
Hudson says tools like Clarity are vital for better IT governance – which is simply about IT departments and their customers in organisations making fact-based decisions about IT investments and priorities.

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