IT spending is the largest single capital investment for most enterprises, ranging from routine productivity improvements to all-out business transformation. A widely-held belief is that increasing IT investment is always desirable. However, the real business benefits achieved by increased IT spending are difficult to identify and measure and sometimes seem impossible to prove—an “information paradox” that often troubles executives when challenged to justify IT spending.
Getting More Value
Originally published in 1998 and revised in 2003, The Information Paradox, which has gained global recognition over the last decade, will help you understand how to get more value from your IT investments. Explore critical issues of managing information technology that have a bottom-line impact. Discover methods, tools and techniques for effectively merging business information and technology. Improve your odds of success in managing IT-enabled change in your organization. Authored by John Thorp and a team of top Fujitsu IT consultants and practitioners, The Information Paradox introduces a unique, client-tested framework called the “Benefits Realization Approach.”
Benefits Realization Approach
The Benefits Realisation Approach challenges the widely held belief that IT alone is responsible for achieving value from IT investments – the reality is that IT in and of itself delivers no value. Value is created and sustained by how the business uses IT, more specifically how they select and manage IT-enabled investments in organizational change. Realizing value from such IT-enabled investments requires more than delivering IT solutions and services—it also requires changes to some or all of: the nature of the business itself; business processes, skills and competencies; and organization. These changes often account for up to 80% of the total investment.
The three fundamentals of the Benefits Realisation Approach are:
- a shift from project management to program management to produce clearly identified business results;
- a shift from free-for-all competition for resources to disciplined, strategic portfolio management; and
- a shift from traditional methods of tracking project delivery to full cycle governance to turn concepts into realised benefits.
The three necessary conditions are:
- activist accountability that includes the concept of ownership;
- relevant measurements linked to contribution to outcomes and to lines of accountability;and
- proactive management of change that is visibly led by senior management.
Enterprise Value Management
The revised (2003) edition of The Information Paradox attacks the broader business problem of achieving enterprise value from increasingly significant and complex IT related investments by proposing an exciting and original approach known as Enterprise Value Management. Enterprise Value Management is a value-driven strategic process that includes a dynamic, “sense and respond” strategic governance approach to help organizations identify the right investments, and to manage what is, in most cases, “an uncertain journey to an uncertain destination.”
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“The Information Paradox should be compulsory reading for government (and business) managers and consultants who are concerned with planning new programs intended to realize expected benefits or with evaluating existing programs to determine if benefits are being realized. The models, tools and techniques described in the book will contribute to best practices in government evaluation and performance measurement.” – Arthur Rabinovitch
“John Thorp’s book recalls Mark Twain’s definition of a classic as “a book you want to have read but don’t want to read.” If you’re an executive with control over your company’s information technology purse stings, you probably don’t want to read a book this detailed in the intricacies of IT, which is exactly the reason that you should. Thorp’s initial premise is that many IT investments never pan out in part because the people that are signing off on them have absolutely no idea what to expect. This book will give you a clue, but don’t expect to enjoy it. It’s dense with IT terminology, change and program management strategies and valuation techniques. We […] recommend this book to all of you professionals who know that you need a better understanding of information technology, even if you won’t admit it. Don’t put off reading this book, no matter how much you’d like to.” – Rolf Dobelli
“Well-structured well-written thought-provoking book. Good mix of theoretical and case-study materials. Clearly introduces useful models and analytical methods. Applies the balanced scorecard approach to IT value measurement, linked with an emphasis on sound programme management/control to constrain IT costs. The bottom line: a darn good read!”