The ETM Framework

ET processes need to manage an organization’s technology portfolio throughout the entire technology lifecycle, from technology planning to procurement through EOL (Plan-to-EOL). For instance, an accurate budget requires accurate demand forecasting. The required input is not only planned new technology purchases, but also procurement of replacements for broken technology and upgrades to technology reaching end of life.

Tidal Basin Group CIO, Melissa Gordon, reminds us: “It’s important not to miss technology planning as a guide to IT-related decision making. This is where regulatory bodies and frameworks come into play. For instance, depending on what a company does, it might leverage several security frameworks to translate its requirements into a technology infrastructure that is more automated and, therefore, more easily audited. Right now, a lot of this technology planning is highly manual, which creates many opportunities for breakdowns because the security component isn’t just limited to the technology controls that are in place but also to the people and the processes within the organization.”

If the CIO ensures a technology plan is developed and periodically reviewed, technology spend can be better aligned with all technology-leveraging processes run by the business. The technology plan and processes then drive KPI measurements utilized by all levels, from the board to the process owners. 

Foundational to developing a technology plan is knowing what technology is already in place. It’s like when I needed to put together a plan to test a production run of integrated circuits, but no one could tell me how many testers would be available. Frustrating.

However, for many companies, it’s difficult enough to keep an accurate inventory of the entire technology portfolio, let alone accurately forecast and plan for what technology will need to be replaced over the next few quarters. Surprise technology purchases can wreak havoc on fixed budgets.

So how does the modern CIO and broader IT organization measure how efficiently they are planning, managing, controlling, and optimizing technology and resource spend, while also enabling the business to continue delivering exceptional experiences and outcomes that are dependent on this technology?

The ETM Framework
Figure 1: The ETM Framework

To help us answer this question, we’ll leverage the Enterprise Technology Management (ETM) Framework, as shown in Figure 1. This simple but powerful framework helps us focus our attention on the fact that there are processes the company uses to run the business that touch the broad inventory of technology:

  • Enterprise Technology Management Processes are the processes used to run the business that touch the company’s enterprise technology portfolio.
  • Enterprise Technology Portfolio is the entire inventory of technology used by the business.

Let’s look closer at each of these components, starting with the technology.

Enterprise Technology Portfolio
Figure 2: Enterprise Technology Portfolio

It goes without saying that technology is a critical resource in today’s enterprise. But the sheer number of different technologies that businesses rely on make the job of efficiently and securely managing these resources throughout their usefulness to the organization quite complex.

To help with this complexity, the ETM Framework segments all technology into five broad categories, as shown in Figure 2.

  1. Endpoints: Physical devices connected to the network that run some form of system management software, such as mobile phones, laptops, and point-of-sale terminals.
  2. Networking: Physical and virtual devices that create the network to enable digital communication and interaction between endpoints, servers and storage, such as routers, switches, and firewalls.
  3. Infrastructure: Physical, on-premises servers and storage, as well as cloud-based virtualized machines and storage.
  4. Applications: Software programs installed on endpoints, on-premises or delivered as a service that organizations offer to customers and employees to achieve desired business outcomes.
  5. Accessories: Physical devices that do not connect to the network or run an operating system, such as keyboards and monitors.

Enterprise technology management processes are then applied to maximize the usefulness of this technology to the business.

Enterprise Technology Management Processes
Figure 3: Enterprise Technology (ET) Management Processes

Enterprise Technology Management Processes include all the processes managed by the IT organization that utilize technology to meet the needs of the business. At a high level, the objective of these processes is to deliver maximum value to the organization through optimal use of technology, budget, and associated headcount resources required to run the processes.

As shown in Figure 3, the ETM Framework segments these processes into five general categories that track the technology lifecycle.

  1. Purchase Management (plan-to-procure): The processes required to manage the acquisition of technology to be used by the organization.
  2. Deploy Management (receive-to-utilize): The processes that put purchased technology to use within the organization.
  3. Monitor Management (observe-to-reconcile): The processes that ensure the organization continues to attain maximum value at minimum cost from its deployed technology.
  4. Secure Management (detect-to-remediate): The processes that act on identified security exposures and enforce policies that have been violated.
  5. Maintain Management (resolve-to-EOL): The processes that resolve identified cases involving issues with the use of technology.

As a side note, these ET processes will most likely operate in the Productivity Zone. Even though they will touch technology deployed in support of the business operating in all four zones, the actual processes themselves will be more aligned to workflows that help keep the lights on and manage technology used by all facets of the business.