GAO updates IT management guide

"Information Technology Investment Management: A Framework for Assessing and Improving Process Maturity"

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General Accounting Office officials released this week an updated framework for assessing and evaluating an agency's management of information technology resources.

The IT Investment Management framework is a model of five stages of investment management maturity. This version updates a draft released in 2000, which was built around the approach laid out in the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, GAO officials said.

"This new version updates the exposure draft to take into account comments that GAO has received; GAO's experiences in evaluating several agencies' implementations of investment management processes and the lessons learned by these agencies; and the importance of enterprise architecture as a critical frame of reference in making IT investment decisions," the report states.

The framework provides a standardized tool for evaluation of investment management practices, a mechanism for reporting the results of the assessments and a plan for improving the practices, GAO officials said. For each maturity stage, the framework describes processes that must be in place for the agency to reach the stage. The five stages and some of the critical processes include:

* Stage One: Creating investment awareness — IT spending without disciplined investment processes.

* Stage Two: Building the investment process — instituting the investment board, providing oversight and capturing investment information.

* Stage Three: Developing a complete investment portfolio — defining the portfolio criteria, creating and evaluating the portfolio and conducting reviews.

* Stage Four: Improving the investment process — improving the portfolio's performance and managing the systems.

* Stage Five: Leveraging IT for strategic outcomes — optimizing the investment process and using IT to drive the strategic business change.

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