IT Governance Institute (ITGI) in 2007, the first version of Val IT was a
succinct 32-page white paper. In 2008, it evolved into a 116-page version-two PDF. Val IT provides guidelines for tracking the actual value of a project,
even as the value and business need for that project changes.
After some initial research, Esposito began the ongoing Val IT implementation
process within his organization, a 700-employee insurance provider, in November 2008 -- and has
never looked back, extremely confident in the little-known, infant framework.
"It's been certified in its use, and I'm most comfortable with that," Esposito
said. "With the economy the way that it is, we can't afford to invest in something that hasn't been
proven. The IT Governance Institute is very well respected, and we didn't want to be
What is Val IT?
Val IT is divided into three domains: value governance, portfolio management
and investment management. According to the Val IT frameworks, realizing business value is not
about acquiring technology, but about using IT in conjunction with the business, business
processes, individuals' work and competencies and organizational structures.
|How to use Val IT in
|Scope your processes appropriately: For midmarket CIOs, the thought of
implementing the long list of Val IT frameworks can be a hard pill to swallow. At first glance,
"[Val IT] can be overwhelming, like any other frameworks," Romero said. "It's sophisticated. But
they cross every T and dot every I, and they do a great job at articulating the goal.
But we don't expect everyone to implement everything."
Romero recommends experimenting with the subsets, assessing, understanding and scaling the
processes to fit your needs. "Figure out your business problem and then apply the aspects you can,"
Focus on financials: Use Val IT to focus on the financial side of IT projects and take
the emotion out of killing projects. "There's a lot of negativity around killing projects, and this
is one of the big cultural things to change," Chrisman said. "If a project fails, that doesn't mean
the project manager is a failure."
Val IT provides common metrics for determining value -- proof-points that can be leveraged if a
project ends up "dead in the water."
Introduce Val IT as a concept: Val IT brings change to an organization and may meet some
resistance -- especially when resources are limited in IT. "The idea of trying to get Val IT as a
concept, as opposed to a framework, made it an easier entry point," Chrisman said. "I could get
buyout on that scale." -- K.C.
Responding to those needs and enabling the enterprise to realize optimal value
with acceptable risk and affordable costs, Val IT provides prescriptive processes, guidelines,
goals, maturity models and activity descriptions.
Val IT is a framework focused on the enterprise point of view of IT governance,
highlighting value -- unlike COBIT, a framework that focuses on execution, according to Steve
Romero, IT governance evangelist at CA. Val IT focuses on architecture and delivery, "decision
making at the strategic level," he said.
All too often organizations finish a project and move on to the next one, never
looking back to make sure the project was a success, said Robert Stroud, international vice
president of the IT Governance Institute. Val IT works to fill in the gaps that business process
management and project portfolio management can't necessarily fill.
"We don't do such a good job determining value in IT," Stroud said. "Val IT
introduces the business part of the IT decision making and provides domains to go about
Terry Chrisman, global IT governance leader for GE Capital, turned to Val IT
when projects weren't turning out as well as expected, even with a formal project methodology in
Using his project and portfolio management (PPM) tool to track projects,
understand available resources and manage finances yielded positive tracking results but still left
a gap in analytics. "The PPM tool can't tell you if a project was a success -- there's no
analytical work," Chrisman said. "The business case is made on assumptions."
And without updating the business case to keep up with current economic
situations, budget constraints and changes in vision, "things that start off good can end up not so
good if you don't have ongoing analysis along the way," Chrisman said.
In one instance, the business was placing unmanageable demands on IT, to the
point where nothing was getting done, Chrisman said. After implementing the presets, some of the
"big picture items" of Val IT, IT realized that the projects it was being asked to do were outside
the company's goals.
"We analyzed the projects, shortened the delta between what was requested and
what didn't fit, and many projects turned out to be more business focused than IT focused,"
"From there we sought more effective management and developed a central
steering committee of the CIO, CFO and CEO, to review projects for value."
As a result, projects were up and running more quickly, everyone had a better
understanding of the project scope, each project had a well-developed and efficient business case,
and IT wasn't fielding every request.
"There was at least a 50-60% decrease in demand placed on IT," Chrisman