I am working with a global financial services company that needs to overhaul its portfolio of communications technology. These include  their public/customer facing web sites to intranets and broadband communication services serving their internal associates across functional areas. To add further complexity, this is a global organization across time zones embodying different cultural norms and styles of communication along with different languages. Typical of many organizations, the communications technology portfolio has grown out of different business organizations that have changed and been re-aligned over the years. While IT has been working hard all along to deliver and manage a set of solutions that align with business needs, the changes in business structure and focus has increased the “value gap” over time and resulted in a highly disparate systems portfolio that can no longer support the business. Multiple email systems, disparate intranet channels and internal web sites, experimental broadband video services, third party communication platforms, and multiple public facing or customer-specific web sites have been deployed across the businesses have created a complex communication portfolio making it impossible to deliver a consistent and timely brand message to either the internal and external audiences. What’s the solution?  They need a rational communications technology portfolio and the governance structures to manage it well over time. A rational communications technology portfolio is characterized by a number of elements:

  • Aligned with audience – communication channels respond to the needs and consumption patterns of the target audience
  • Consistent and rationalized – where possible, platforms are based on common standards and shared globally
  • Embracing new media – methods and mediums stay consistent with current new media practices and technologies
  • Appropriately governed  – portfolio and policies are monitored and adjusted for performance

To help them define a strategy, we are pursuing a five step process:

  1. Understand audiences and messaging strategies along with new media and “web native” delivery opportunities
  2. Inventory and assess the existing portfolio with characteristics about the user audience, technologies being used, costs and commercial arrangements, business importance and functional quality
  3. Build a case for change and align support from top management
  4. Define an achievable road map that embraces common architecture standards and appropriate technology solutions and services
  5. Implement governance structures including sourcing models, policies and procedures that mitigate technical diversity

The benefits of a rational communications technology portfolio come from both cost reductions and communications impact. We have seen cost reduction from 15% to 35%+ through the elimination of duplicate systems and related support costs while dramatically simplifying and unifying communications. By embedding a portfolio governance process, they will have a common language to explore and resolve issues around application rationalization planning. Maintaining an application inventory will  support future planning and decision-making and provide a consistent framework to analyze performance, effectiveness and progress

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