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Aligning IT with Business Strategy

  • March 7, 2007
  • By Marcia Gulesian
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Video Conferencing Enhances Real-Time Collaboration

As companies disperse geographically, splitting across states, or even continents, it is still possible to foster open, rapid, spontaneous communications with videoconferencing, which allows interactive, real-time video and voice communications between two or more geographically distant people or locations.

Although Video conferencing products give organizations the tools they need to reduce travel expenses and build stronger relationships with remote staff (and customers), you should first perform a comparative economic analysis of the alternative systems to justify the high investment costs (see Reference 10).

Figure 13 shows the Cisco TelePresence 3000, a 12-person virtual conference table, seating up to six actual people in any one location. Three 65-inch HD plasmas make up one side of the table and are coupled with properly positioned speakers.

Click here for a larger image.

Figure 13. The Cisco TelePresence 3000.

Built on open standards, the 3000 integrates existing applications like enterprise groupware and unified communications systems. This enables scheduling meetings by sending out calendar invitations with information displayed on the meeting room phone. The call is launched with a single button push, eliminating the need for IT support.

Virtual Meetings—Distributed Spatially and Temporally

But, as you already know, scheduling meetings is usually an iterative (a.k.a. inefficient) process. So, to avoid the scheduling and other costs associated with either a physical conference room or an electronic teleconferenced meeting, many organizations opt for virtual meetings that can be conducted without concern for the location or exact time of availability of the participants.

Figure 14 shows the workspace for conducting a meeting called for the purpose of making one or more decisions on a portfolio of projects. After studying the information (for example, The Objectives, The Discussion Board, and other Web Parts displayed in this figure) needed to make a decision that will produce the Objectives, a business user enters his or her Decision in the lower right-hand of the Web-browser page.

Click here for a larger image.

Figure 14. Virtual decision meeting (SharePoint 2007)

There are advantages to be gained by using the latest methodologies and tools in project portfolio management. They can help make compliance easier, along with ensuring consistency, facilitating meetings and so on. Interactive processes such those described throughout this article need not be horizontal between units; they can also be vertical, drawing superiors and subordinates into frequent dialog, debate, and action planning. A major benefit from using any control system interactively is the ability to identify emerging changes in the business and its ecosystem—both positive and negative—that may require changing the business model or strategy.

But, when all is said and done, a successful project portfolio management system is not just about using the latest methodologies and tools. It's also about getting all the participants involved and on board from the very beginning.


  1. http://www.developer.com/mgmt/article.php/3595036
  2. http://www.developer.com/mgmt/article.php/3601061
  3. http://www.developer.com/mgmt/article.php/11085_3621006_1
  4. http://projectmagazine.com/software/collaborative-project-management-a-new-web-architecture.html
  5. Albright, S. et al DataAnalysis & Decision Making, Thomson (2006)
  6. Goodwin, P., Wright, G. Decision Analysis for Management Judgement, Wiley (2004)
  7. Broadbent, M., Kitzis, E. The New CIO Leader, Harvard Business School Press (2005)
  8. QuantumPM Microsoft Office Project Server 2003 Unleashed, Sams (2005)
  9. Husman, G. , Wrox (2006)
  10. Gough, M. Video Conferencing Over IP, Syngress (2006)
  11. Van Bon, J. Metrics for IT Service Management, Van Haren (2006)

About the Author

Marcia Gulesian is an IT strategist, hands-on practitioner, and advocate for business-driven architectures. Marcia has served as software developer, project manager, CTO, and CIO. She is author of well more than 100 feature articles on IT, its economics and its management. You can click on the author's name at the top of the article to send her feedback.

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