Gartner Says a Project Management Office Can Streamline IT Modernisation

IT Modernisation Special Report Examines Changes Every IT Organisation Must Face to Stay Relevant

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IT organisations will be unable to meet rapidly changing business demands simply by working harder than they have in the past, according to Gartner Inc. Instead they need to embrace IT modernisation as generations of technology, skills and expectations are inevitably replaced by the next ones.

Gartner defines IT modernisation as the complete overhaul of the culture of IT with the specific goal of developing a portfolio of processes that will enable the IT delivery teams to close the gap on accelerating business demands.

"Effective IT modernisation requires organisation, and we believe that the concept of a project management office (PMO) or multiple project management offices is crucial to organise for, and facilitate IT modernisation," said Dale Vecchio, research vice president at Gartner.

According to Gartner, the creation of PMOs, combined with an investment in project and portfolio management (PPM) processes and technology, can provide enough organisation, process definition and process automation to identify and address an expected increase and proliferation of IT artefacts needing retirement or replacement during the next five to seven years.

Investments in a PMO and in PPM as a work management discipline can help IT generate the visibility CIOs need to monitor network, telephony, server hardware, storage and system management portfolios, and make effective modernization decisions that funnel into strategic IT projects.

"A PMO can provide a common planning process with artefacts, a common reporting process and oversight and a common IT modernisation process," said Daniel Stang, principal research analyst at Gartner. "It brings structure and support to evaluating, justifying, defining, planning, tracking and executing IT modernisation efforts. It also encourages more business-side participation in IT modernisation efforts and in the resolution of conflicts caused by limited resources and other constraints."

Gartner analysts said that moving the PMO outside of the IT organisation promotes its independence, removes any perception of bias and encourages the planning of IT modernisation efforts for the sake of the wider business and not solely for the sake of the IT organisation. This positioning of an enterprise project management office (EPMO) - which plays more of a role in oversight and monitoring, and has no direct project management responsibilities - enables lower-level managers to raise any portfolio issues related to IT modernisation programmes or projects with senior management.

IT modernisation represents Gartner's theme for closing the gap between yesterday's IT implementations and tomorrow's IT demands in the face of the greatest shift in IT technology skills that has been seen in the history of computing. Gartner analysts said that strategic use of PMOs should ensure that IT modernisation becomes an increasingly critical enabler of business change.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report "Organize to Modernize: The Roles PMOs Can Play in IT Modernization." The report is available at This research is part of a set of related research pieces from the Gartner Special Report "IT Modernization: The Changing of the Guard." The Special Report is available on Gartner's website at
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