METAmorphosis 2002 to focus on IT portfolio management

METAmorphosis Dubai 2002, scheduled to run from the 15th to the 17th of April at Al Bustan Rotana Hotel, will address the issue of balancing the risk and return in IT investments.

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By  Vijaya George Published  April 11, 2002

METAmorphosis Dubai, scheduled to run from the 15th to the 17th of April at Al Bustan Rotana Hotel in Dubai, will address the issue of balancing the risk and return in IT investments and ways of communicating the value of IT investments to the business. The global IT forum will be hosted jointly by DIC and IT advisory services and consulting firm Meta Group.

“Regardless of an enterprise’s regional location and economic conditions, the conference will be useful for firms because it will discuss ways in which they can balance risks in IT investments against the possible returns,” said Tom Scholtz, META Group vice president, Global Networking Strategies.

The forum will present the most modern practices, research and expertise on IT portfolio management -- a methodology for managing IT assets as an investment portfolio by assessing cost, value, risk, timing and utility to business or public sector initiatives.

The methodology, modelled after a stock portfolio, enables enterprises to determine which IT investments to initiate and maintain based on business requirements. Illustrating how the principle is applied in the case of IT investments, Scholtz explained: “In some cases, your investment will be for processing back office operations. So you have no choice, you have to invest in it. But you also have discretionary spending which involves IT investments that can potentially grow the business. Besides there is venture spending, which can help transform the business. The conference will talk about how you can manage all these different kinds of investments to optimise the value of the business.

“If the business is trying to consolidate itself, then it will find itself focusing on optimising the non-discretionary spending. If the business is trying to be competitive, then you probably will focus on some of the venture capital funds,” Scholtz explained.

Another key focus of the conference will be ways of communicating the value of IT investments to the business. “Traditionally, communicating the value of IT investments has focused on metrics and measurements. In the early 90s, we swamped the business with highly sophisticated technology metrics like CPU cycles and IO rates and we thought we were doing a great job. But these were of absolutely no interest to the business,” says Scholtz.

“In the late 90s, we focused on trying to develop meaningful ways of relating these technology metrics to business metrics. It was then that we realised that though these metrics are important, we also have to illustrate to the business that we have ways of managing our investment over time in the most optimal fashion,” he explained.

In the US where businesses are experiencing a cyclical economic downturn, IT Portfolio Management has been used by firms as a way of prioritising investments based on changing economic conditions. However, organizations in the Middle East have similar incentives to adopt IT Portfolio Management though they have not yet been affected by the economic downturn.

Speakers at METAmorphosis Dubai 2002 will include META Group analysts who have a deep understanding of the Middle East IT sector. It will address the needs of the regional market and will relate to specific issues faced by it.

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