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Infrastructure Portfolio Management (IPM) — APM for Shared Services

by Bruce Robertson  |  February 9, 2010  |  35 Comments

I’m working on a presentation for Gartner’s upcoming EA Summit in Las Vegas (April 14-16, 2010) and London (May 17-18, 2010) about an aspect of what we call Enterprise Solution Architecture (ESA).  While application portfolio management (APM) is one reasonably mature version of solution portfolio management in ESA, we extend the idea of managing investments in application assets to infrastructure infrastructure assets.  We call this infrastructure portfolio management (IPM).

Granted, the spend or investment in some infrastructure is done within the application portfolio — that infrastructure that is dedicated to a single application is often included in the application’s change plan or road map and most importantly budget.  The impact of enterprise technical architecture (ETA) work on traditional APM-oriented change planning within the enterprise is perhaps the most common EA activity — getting guidelines and standards for technologies and products defined so that applications can move to more standard and hopefully better technologies, then applying them as projects to add new or upgrade existing application investments are hatched and delivered.  But, I’m not talking about that part of the infrastructure.

I’m focused on planning change or investment in the infrastructure that is NOT in the application portfolio — the infrastructure that is NOT dedicated to one particular application.  I’m focused on shared infrastructure. This shared infrastructure should really be thought of as a set of shared infrastructure services (e.g., fully architected solutions including operational support and SLAs, not just the ETA sw/hw parts). These shared infrastructure services certainly can be managed or planned leveraging the portfolio management — and specifically more mature APM — techniques.  That’s what I’m discussing in my presentation: how to manage or architect such solution portfolios and how to architect the dependencies between them.

Anyone out there doing this form of infrastructure portfolio management (IPM) or infrastructure solution portfolio management (ISPM)? I’d love to hear it.   I’m looking for more case studies to quote.

Is anyone even doing what ITIL v3 calls IT services management (ITSM), which I think is related but not quite the same?   Our experience is that this is not the case yet for most ITIL centered organizations — this v3 level of complexity is still a future goal.  But, I think what I’m calling IPM (or ISPM) is related and the two should be integrated.  What do you think?

Category: enterprise-architecture  

Tags: esa  eta  ipm  itsm  portfolio-management  

Bruce Robertson
Research VP
15 years at Gartner
27 years IT industry

Bruce Robertson is a research vice president at Gartner in the Business Process Management (BPM) group, formerly in the Enterprise Planning and Architecture Strategies (EPAS) group. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Infrastructure Portfolio Management (IPM) — APM for Shared Services


  1. Gary Meadows says:

    Bruce, We implemented this model in 2003 and continue to mature our Infrastructure portfolio management. We should talk.

  2. Dave says:

    We’re starting to develop one. I think it makes a lot of sense and is important not to overlook. I’d be interested to hear about what Gary and others might be doing in this space.

  3. Naidu Saladi says:

    Bruce,Gary
    I agree with Bruce comments on applying APM techniques to IPM and treating IPM as a different activity from APM is a good approach. I am just about to start on this initiative, can you post me on where you are on this topic?
    Thanks

  4. Pawel says:

    I’m in a process of defining and applying simple IPM-like methodology for post merger infrastructure environment optimization in banking industry. We try to source some ideas from TOGAF as well as your paper on “Missing Portfolios”.
    Not much reference exists on applying such approach to infrastructure instead of applications.
    As of ITIL and service related stuff – coming from the organization strongly focused on ITIL v2 I automatically assume an architecture building block to include at least availability guarantee. In fact our approach was to divide horizontal technology layers (servers, storage, databases etc) into service classes bound to specific OLAs. Creating vertical architecture blocks offering shared services would be a natural next step but merging with company that had no service perspective in IT makes this more complex. Still IPM-like approach along with cross site consolidation towards shared services seems to be the best way.

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