Information Technology Portfolio Management

What is it?  Information Technology Portfolio Management (IT PfM) is an effort to optimize DOD investments in information technology.  By examining the entire enterprise and identifying similar IT assets the Army can provide maximum effectiveness to warfighters for the least possible cost, at a level of associated risk that is acceptable to the Nation.  IT PfM is based on an iterative process of data collection, analyses, selection, and controls/feedback very similar to the process used by Wall Street to manage financial portfolios.

What has the Army done?  The Army has implemented the Army Portfolio Management Solution (APMS) to facilitate collection and analysis of information necessary to prioritize the thousands of IT investments within its portfolio.  IT investments are grouped according to the mission capabilities they support: Warfighter, Business and Enterprise Information Environment Mission Areas, each of which is led by a three- or four-star level general officer or senior executive. 

IT Portfolio Management is closely aligned with enterprise architectures, which have been developed within the Business Mission Area.  In the Warfighter and the Enterprise Information Environment Mission Areas, analyses have begun in select, high value areas such as Tactical Knowledge Management and Collaboration.  Since the program’s beginning in July 2005, the Army’s capabilities-based IT PfM processes have helped to eliminate a large number of redundant systems.  Evidence tells us we have much more to gain through our PfM efforts.

The Army’s 17 Domains have developed Domain Transformation Plans consistent with Army’s Enterprise PfM processes.  The Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Army will endorse those Plans and the authority of Domain and Mission Area Leads to execute effective Portfolio Management, including system termination after appropriate review.  Progress against these Plans is being measured at bi-annual Portfolio Reviews conducted by the Army’s Portfolio Review Committee, as established by 5 January  2006 AKM Guidance Memorandum – Capabilities-Based Information Technology Portfolio Governance Implementing Guidance.  Metrics associated with these Plans will feed the Army’s Strategic Management System to ensure focus on and alignment to the Army’s Mission and Overarching Interrelated Objectives. 

What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future?  The Army’s current focus is on selecting the areas with greatest possible impact to the warfighter, greatest potential savings from elimination of duplicative and redundant systems, and executing the intensive analysis required to optimize those areas.

Additionally, the Army is working with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the other Services to institutionalize the IT PfM process, while simultaneously making it more effective and efficient by leveraging and integrating IT PfM with existing Defense processes.  The Army IT PfM process is evolving from emphasis on individual systems to overall mission capability.  As with any evolution, the maturity and completeness of IT PfM practices within the Army will develop over time.  Transformation is a continuous process.  The Domain Transformation Plans provide an initial baseline of the Army’s IT Portfolio Management process; any future updates or modifications to of these Plans will be approved by the respective Mission Area Leaders. 

Why is this important to the Army?  Operating within the economic constraints defined by our National resources, the Army must adapt to overcome future threats and develop ways to win “the long war” against a continuously changing set of threats.  This means the Army must be more agile, more flexible, and more cost-effective than it has ever been.  However, warfighters cannot be any more agile or cost-effective than the infrastructure used to man, equip and train them.  Therefore, Army Transformation requires an IT infrastructure which is more agile, flexible, and cost-effective, and therein lies the value of IT Portfolio Management.  IT PfM is critical because it provides the mechanism by which the Army will achieve the agile, rapidly adaptable, and cost-effective IT infrastructure that is imperative to support our Soldiers.