Industry leaders try to fix IT’s value creation problem with IT-CMF

The Innovation Value Institute (IVI), the two year-old collaboration between some of the world’s most prominent CIOs, CFOs, IT vendors and high-tech academics, yesterday demonstrated how they hope to address IT’s most fundamental and longstanding challenge: to ensure investment in IT consistently delivers value to the business.

Gathering for the European launch of IVI’s IT-Capability Maturity Framework (IT-CMF) at Maynooth University near Dublin, early adopters – which include BP, Chevron, Lloyds TSB, Intel, Microsoft, SAP, Xilinx, Logica – outlined the concrete benefits they have already seen by adopting the model within specific areas of their operations.

IT-CMF identifies 36 processes that are critical to IT – from Sourcing and Service Provisioning to Enterprise Architecture Management and Investment Analysis & Performance. By drawing on shared member experience and wider industry expertise, it seeks to define best practice in each of these. By mapping the framework onto their IT department, implementers score their organisation’s maturity for the different processes across five levels, setting improvement targets and approaches to optimising these for value creation.

According to Stacy Smith, CFO and a former CIO of Intel, “We need an integrated and standardised framework for systematically improving IT capability and making IT investment decisions strategically from a holistic perspective. IT-CMF does exactly this.”

“It address the fundamental problem of business value derived from IT spending by providing an end-to-end integrated framework to help the CIO manage the complexities and trade-offs required to continuously evolve the IT capability [so it] delivers measurable value.”

IT-CMF is the latest in a series of initiatives that have been launched over the years – CobiT, CMMI, Val-IT, ITIL and others, that attempt to raise the rigour and professionalism of IT delivery, with the ultimate aim of improving IT’s track record in creating business value. However, while it draws on those efforts, IT-CMF is being viewed as more comprehensive in scope, a perception that might explain the rapid build up in momentum behind the initiative.

Participants have been impressed by the breadth and depth that underpins the processes and sub-processes created by IT-CMF’s working groups. At a high level, Peter O’Shea, CIO of Ireland’s largest utility provider, ESB, outlined how his organisation’s assessment of its core processes produced a scoring of mostly twos and threes, prompting him to attack areas where it is below par. 

At a more granular level, Fabrice Locke, head of innovation at the technology services unit of insurance giant AXA, told the audience of 120 how his organisation found shortcomings in its Technical Infrastructure Management process. By drilling into server management within its data centre sub-process, AXA Technology Services found its provisioning practices for new servers were in many cases at IT-CMF Level 1, with some parts of AXA taking half a day to bring a new server on-stream. By focusing on raising that standard, while drawing on other IVI members’ experiences, it has attained Level 3, with new server provisioning reduced in many cases to 10 minutes.

IVI, which has extensive input from both industry and academia, received a further boost yesterday, when the Irish prime minister, Brian Cowen, joined the launch event to announce details of a €1 million grant that will support IVI’s on-going developments at Ireland’s Maynooth, Limerick and Galway universities.

David Cliff

David Cliff is managing director of Houghton le Spring-based Gedanken, a company specialising in coaching-based support and personal development. Cliff is an experienced trainer, manager and therapist,...

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