Published Article, July 2002 – What is Portfolio Management and why should IT care

Original published attached as a PDF here: BIJ- What is portfolio management and why should IT care – July 2004

What is Portfolio Management, and why should I.T. Care?

By Steve Force

How does a company know if they’re working on the right IT projects? How can they tell? Why do managers often make questionable IT investment decisions? Why don’t they know what technology is worth to the business?

According to a January 2002 META Group report:

• Eighty-nine percent of companies are flying blind with virtually no metrics except for financial ones.

• Eighty-four percent of companies don’t do business cases for their IT projects or do them only on select, key projects.

• Eighty-four percent of companies are unable to adjust and align their budg­ets with business needs more than once or twice a year.

These are pretty sobering statistics. Such numbers would improve with even the most rudimentary portfolio management methodology in place.

Organizations with portfolio man­agement methodologies in place have better, more relevant, actionable information. It might seem like an abstract, esoteric topic, but portfolio management is a topic all forward-thinking IT practi­tioners should embrace. It’s a tool that:

• Provides an over-arching view of IT projects across the enterprise

• Facilitates alignment of IT with corporate strategy

• Is not used to implement or maintain.

We all know the importance of link­ing technology to business drivers. However, many IT practitioners still use “IT speak” when talking to the business side. Yet, it’s best to use a language they truly understand: money, investment and risk.

Although it IT staff isn’t alone in failing to quantify their projects and programs (other business units and executives are equally guilty), that’s no excuse. If IT understands the value of quantifying their projects and programs, and performs the due diligence necessary to accurately value it, then IT is much closer ro providing true, measurable business value.

Now, how does this apply to portfolio management? Simply put, portfolio management takes an objective view of all investments, including IT, to ensure that such investments are made wisely and in keeping with the overall strategy. It gives the organization a method to align IT with strategic goals by prioritizing IT projects in the save manner as other elements of a financial portfolio.

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Published Article, November 1994- Veterans Affairs Canada Analyzes Data with ACL

Veterans Affairs Canada

Analyzes Data With ACL

By Steve Force

Government agencies, like private organizations, are searching for ways to cut costs, streamline the delivery of IS services and empower end users. The Department of Veterans Affairs for Canada (VAC), with 3700 employees and a budget of $1.8 billion (Canadian), is in the final stages of an initiative that has put new power in the hands of end users, allowing them to retrieve and analyze data without requiring time-consuming IS intervention. The results have been gratifying: reduced costs, improved service levels and more timely and effective decision-making.

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Enterprise Systems Journal article


By Stephen Force

The Bayerische Motorwerke (In english, Bavarian Motor Works), known by the acronym BMW is a major German automobile and motorcycle manufacturer. Best known for its automobiles and motorcycles, BMW has excelled in many other areas. During Work War I, the famous Baron von Richthofen’s airplane was powered by a BMW engine. Indeed, the immediately recognizable BMW emblem depicts, in the proud Bavarian colors of blue and white, an airplane propeller surrounded by the Letters

“B M W.”

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FORCESight – column June 1994

FORCESight column Jun 94

Comparing the IS Needs of Small Firms and Large Companies

By Steve Force

I’m in the fortunate position of working not only with large corporate information systems professionals, but also with small business professionals. Part of my activities involve assisting small businesses with their information systems needs. Regardless of what people may think, there are many simularities between the needs of small firms and large companies.

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FORCESight – column April 1994

FORCESight Column – April 1993

TCP/IP Upgrade

By Stephen Force

Preparing for my “TCP/IP Reality Check” presentation, it struck me just how accepted Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) has become in the mainstream data processing world. When I first worked with VM TCP/IP at the University of Tuebingen (Germany) Medical Center in 1988, I found it quite interesting. TCP/IP was logical, but for someone trained in SNA it seemed somewhat quirky and peculiar.

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FORCESight – column Feb 1994

FORCESight Column – Feb 1994

Strategic Skills for 1994:

A Technical Support Top 10 List

By Stephen Force

Nineteen ninety-three was a year of transition for the Information Systems community. Uncertainty of what the dat processing future would be like was painfully prevalent. It was hard to get a feeling for which operating system and network environment to “bank on.”

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Creating a Santa Cruz Operations (SCO) UNIX Emergency System



By Stephen Force

Having a current, well-tested operating system emergency system provides absolute piece of mind. If you have never had a damaged system you needed to get active immediately, you are either extremely lucky or new to the technical support business.

Not having an emergency system is a big mistake. Having an emergency system that you think is reliable, but fails when needed, will literately make a grown man cry. I know; I have been in the unfortunate position of having a emergency system fail due to a colleague’s “oversight.”

Because of this horrible experience, I will no longer trust anyone’s word if I personally have to rely on an operating system emergency system. I test it myself and will always have a trusted copy in my safe keeping.

This article deals with creating and testing such a emergency system, specifically for the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) UNIX system (SCO UNIX V Release 3.2 Version 4.2.). Although the concepts mentioned here apply to most operating system environments, this article is primarily targeted for the numerous SCO UNIX users among us.

The SCO UNIX emergency boot floppy diskette system allows you to recover your system in the event of a catastrophic system failure. Or, you could use these diskettes to restore a corrupted root filesystem without re-installing the operating system.

If you are the system administrator responsible for more than one SCO UNIX system, you should make emergency boot floppy diskette systems for each UNIX machine in your care. After creating a bootable operating system diskette, you should create a root file system floppy diskette that contains all operating system commands needed to either get your system running or to at least get you to the next step of data restoration if needed.

Prior to placing all of these newly created diskettes in safe storage, test each diskette on the proper computer. Do not assume anything. Test each diskette individually.

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