Rio Tinto reigns in ballooning IT project costs

 

Seeks Clarity as projects are cut.

Mining giant Rio Tinto has invested in software that provides its management with a consolidated view of IT project spending, after finding little accountability or governance in place during the financial crisis.

When the financial crisis hit, Rio Tinto management asked its IT department to cut back technology spending. But at the time, the company had no way of knowing how this might impact business units with projects already in progress.

Rio Tinto global PMO [project management office] manager Brett Johnstone said the financial crisis hit during a period of "chaotic" growth for the company.

"We had four to five large project teams, and also business units delivering projects with vendors coming in," Johnstone told attendees at the CA Expo in Melbourne yesterday. "It wasn't very well structured. We lacked a significant amount of visibility about where we spending all these investment dollars."

Rio's bean-counters were uncertain of how money was being spent, or what value projects could deliver to the business, he said.

The total annual expenditure on IT projects was "an enormous number", he said, around the same cost as actually running the IT operations of the business.

Without a holistic view of project spending, the mining company wasn't adequately able to prioritise it's spend between its various operating entities.

A clear solution

As part of a restructure, Rio created a project management [PMO] office and the majority of the company's project managers - which had grown from 36 people to 160 people in the 18 months to mid-2008 - were redistributed into operational roles, Johnstone said.

Rio then used CA's Clarity software to catalogue all projects that were being carried out across the business. 

This information now assists the enterprise architecture group when new projects are mooted.

"It was really important [that] they understand the business strategy," Johnstone said. "They can create an IT project that meets the business need.

"When a project came up in the business unit, this [PMO] group really helped challenge this and question that, and added a basic level of governance through that process.

 "We now have global visibility of all IT projects across the group and are now able make decisions and analyse this based on what the business requires," he said.

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


Rio Tinto reigns in ballooning IT project costs
 
 
 
Top Stories
Meet FABACUS, Westpac's first computer
GE225 operators celebrate gold anniversary.
 
NSW Govt gets ready to throw out the floppy disks
[Opinion] Dominic Perrottet says its time for government to catch up.
 
iiNet facing new copyright battle with Hollywood
Fighting to protect customer details.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest Comments
Polls
In which area is your IT shop hiring the most staff?




   |   View results
IT security and risk
  26%
 
Sourcing and strategy
  12%
 
IT infrastructure (servers, storage, networking)
  21%
 
End user computing (desktops, mobiles, apps)
  15%
 
Software development
  26%
TOTAL VOTES: 340

Vote
Would your InfoSec team be prepared to share threat data with the Australian Government?

   |   View results
Yes
  58%
 
No
  42%
TOTAL VOTES: 143

Vote