IT Portfolio Management Takes Hold in N.C.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- North Carolina officials are poised to pitch legislation that will change the way the state manages large information technology projects, according to the state's chief information officer, Richard Webb.

The new proposal, which is similar to a management strategy developed by Washington state, would foster a "portfolio management" approach to projects. That approach entails the IT office working more closely with state budget officials and business planning offices in designing and carrying out IT projects, Webb said.

"Our goal is to help agencies plan better and to look at [an IT project] from a business perspective, not just an IT perspective," he said.

Portfolio management is crucial because too often an agency will develop an IT project without involving the budget and business offices, and that scenario many times results in a haphazard management approach.

However, the state is not looking to set up a command and control approach to IT but is looking for a way to "build project management into the front end so we get a better product in the long term," said Webb, speaking here at the Intergovernmental Technology Conference.

Washington's Information Services Board in July 1998 adopted a plan, called Portfolio-Based Information Technology Management and Oversight. That plan is built around the concept of an IT portfolio that "discloses links among agency strategies and business plans and IT investments," according to the document.

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