Information, application and technology

Final | October 2018 | v1.0.0 | OFFICIAL-Public | QGCIO

Purpose

Before undertaking digital and ICT strategic planning activities it is necessary for the practitioner to quickly understand the current state of information, application and technology assets/services within the scope of the planning activity, currently used by the agency. Undertaking current state analysis reveals information about the type, function, level of investment and condition of information, application and technology assets/services. This information helps to identify opportunities for new capability as well as strategies for optimising the investment and minimising the risks of the current portfolio of assets/services.

The guideline describes how to gather, classify and map the information, application and technology assets/services of the agency. This provides the practitioner and business representatives participating in planning with an understanding of the current state of the ICT assets/services relevant to the scope of the planning activities.

Audience

A practitioner in the context of this guideline can include one or more of the following roles:

  • Digital and ICT strategic planners
  • Agency and service strategic planners
  • Enterprise architects
  • Business analysts
  • Information managers
  • ICT costing or pricing specialists
  • Investment or portfolio specialists.

Gather

Locate any existing documentation on the agency or business unit information, application and technology assets and services.

In an agency where this information is not readily available or is not available at the level required to describe information assets, applications and technologies, it will be necessary to generate it through interviews or workshops with key stakeholders of the business areas. In these circumstances, it may be necessary to engage assistance from the ICT or enterprise architecture unit of the organisation. Useful sources of information that may assist with the collection of this information include:

  • ICT related service catalogues or service agreements the ICT unit in the organisation
  • Enterprise architecture documentation
  • Configuration Management Database
  • Queensland Government ICT Profile submission
  • ICT Work plan.

Document the information, application and technology assets and services in a register.

Where possible, estimates of the annual estimated cost of operation and the estimated replacement cost should also be collected. This will enhance the analysis that can be conducted regarding the current state classification and assessments.

For ICT planning, the dimensions of the Annual Estimated Total Cost of Operation are:

  • operational internal and external costs
  • depreciation costs
  • licensing costs
  • any other costs that can be directly attributed to the asset/service on an ongoing basis.

To obtain a true picture of the total cost of an application, the costs of the underlying infrastructure (the hardware and software platform but not any network infrastructure) should be included. Where several applications share a server/an operating system/a database or other technologies, the annual estimated cost of operation of these technologies should be apportioned between the applications (use a simple division if detailed usage information is not available).

For an application which is outsourced (e.g. ICT service provider or an external provider), include the cost of any internal staff involved in providing the service as well as the cost billed to the agency.

Classify

Work with the business unit representatives or the enterprise architecture representatives to classify the information, application and technology assets/services to any relevant classification frameworks.

It is normal in an organisation that descriptions of similar or ‘like’ information, application and technology assets and services can differ greatly. Classification proves a straightforward way of normalising the business terminology when referring to information assets, application and technology assets/services. Classification provides a way of quickly understating the nature of information used by an organisation as well functional capability provided by the organisation’s applications and technologies. Classification assists to identify areas of gaps or duplication in the information, application and technology assets and services.

The QGEA contains classification frameworks for the classification of information, application and technology assets and services. Each agency may also have business specific classification frameworks.

Map

Mapping refers the activity of identifying the relationships between elements either within a layer of an enterprise architecture or across layers of an enterprise architecture. Mapping assists the practitioner to understand the relationships between the organisation’s services and processes and the information, applications and technologies that support those services.

Mapping across layers is generally conducted from one layer to the layer above in an enterprise architecture. The extent to which mapping is conducted will depend on the scope of the planning engagement and the information available. For planning purposes, it is recommended applications are mapped to the information they support. Underpinning technology assets/services should also be mapped to applications.

Additional mappings such as information and applications to services or business objectives may also be useful in understanding the importance of information and applications to support the business of the agency and its strategic intent.

Mapping is also useful for identifying any gaps and ensuring the scope of information collected for the planning process is consistent. Where gaps occur, it may be necessary to adjust the information collected in line with scope of the planning engagement. This will provide greater focus on only those elements that are relevant to the planning engagement and will highlight any true gaps which may represent an opportunity to introduce new capability.

Assess

Assessment refers to the scoring and analysis of business impact, future business value and condition of information, application and technology assets and services.

Assessment assists the practitioner and business representatives engaged in planning to understand the risk, potential to deliver future benefit and comparative cost of services, information, application and technology assets/services within the current environment. Based on results of assessments, a number of corrective actions can be proposed and can be carried forward to the planning activities with the business.

Assessments should be conducted using surveys, interviews or workshops with representatives from the business as well as application and information asset experts and support staff.

This guideline provides additional information relating to the types of assessment and analysis that can be conducted on the current information assets, applications and technologies of the agency or business area.

Analyse

Analyse the classification of the information, application and technology assets and services. Identify and document any apparent gaps that may be relevant. These gaps may represent opportunities to introduce new capability. Particularly in circumstances where services and processes are not supported by technology.

Identify those domains in the classifications where multiple information, application and technology assets and services have been classified to a single domain. This may represent an opportunity for the rationalisations of supporting information, application and technology assets and services.

Presentations of classifications and assessments can include graphs and summaries of the findings.

This example will assist the business representatives to understand the extent of possible duplication and the cost to the organisation. It may also assist the business to understand the level of spend on corporate applications (e.g. human resources or finance applications) versus those that support front line service delivery.

Discuss any apparent duplication or gaps resulting from the classification of information assets, applications and technologies with the sponsor or other business stakeholders. Identify, discuss and document any objectives and strategies required to address any rationalisation opportunities and gaps.

Analyse the mappings to identify those information, application and technology assets and services that are significant (e.g. supporting many objectives, strategies and key performance indicators).

Mappings can be represented as diagrams that demonstrate the relationships between elements or graphs or where there is a high dependency between elements.

Identify and document and gaps in the mappings between services, processes and information and applications. These gaps may represent opportunities to introduce new capability for example.

Discuss the result of the mapping of information, applications and technologies with the sponsor other business stakeholders. Identify, discuss and document any objectives and strategies required to address any rationalisation opportunities or gaps.

The grid models resulting from the assessment activities can be used to present the findings to the sponsor and other business representatives.

Discuss any management strategies resulting from the assessment of the information applications and technologies with the planning sponsor other business stakeholders. Identify, discuss and document any objectives and strategies required to address any risks, optimise investment through leverage or rationalisation opportunities in terms of cost.

Where the estimated replacement cost and due for renewal or replacement has been gathered, demonstrate the number and cost of applications and technologies due for replacement over the planning period. It may also be of value to demonstrate the number of application and technology assets and services that are overdue for replacement of renewal.

Next steps

When including the results of analysis in workshops and presentations, practitioners should discuss the proposed workshop visualisations with planning sponsor. This will provide the practitioner with an understanding of the sponsors expectations around the current state. For example, the sponsor may be particularly interested in application portfolio risks and high cost applications. This understanding will guide the practitioner as to what visualisations should be prepared.

Include your findings regarding the classification, mapping and assessment of information assets applications and technologies as part of the digital and ICT strategic planning workshops and interviews. This will give the sponsor and the business representatives the opportunity to confirm the analysis. It will also provide the opportunity to discuss any strategies that need to be included in the Strategic Plan or Operational Plan.

Resources

Resource

Link

ICT profiling tool

https://www.qgcio.qld.gov.au/services/analytics-and-research/ICT-profiling-templates

At-risk ICT systems template

https://www.qgcio.qld.gov.au/services/analytics-and-research/ICT-profiling-templates

ICT planning assessment tool

https://www.qgcio.qld.gov.au/services/analytics-and-research/ICT-profiling-templates


Last Reviewed: 03 September 2019