Case Study:

IT Governance – Budget Review


The annual budget process for this IT Infrastructure organization lasted over 5 months, was very mechanical, and was hated by the participants. The executive sponsor was looking to overhaul the budget as a management tool and as a collaborative process for establishing vision, goals, and objectives for the year.

What We Did

A new, simple, front-end process for budget suggestions (called Concept Review) was implemented. All ideas, across the entire organization, came into the process. Management teams reviewed each concept and provided rough estimates, prioritization, and feedback. These were used as the basis of discussion with business sponsors and the broader IT team. Feedback to the contributing party was direct, and coaching and mentoring was provided by senior managers. “Approvals” were determined based on funding availability and requests.

What We Achieved

The budget was “owned” by the department rather than the managers. All staff members participated in setting the department agenda, and all ideas received consideration. There were of course still limits of affordability, but through inclusivity and transparency, consensus was achieved.

As the department grew, this became a differentiator and something unique to the organization and company. Staff felt empowered and closer to management processes. Managers became allies instead of obstacles.


Industry: Financial Services
Scope: Corporate-wide exposure, with $50M annual IT spend
Impact: Budget and priority setting became inclusive and collaborative. Staff were engaged in the budget process and were less disappointed when something wasn’t approved.
Duration: 3 months design and deployment

Harvard Partners Skillsets

  • Business process engineering
  • Project management

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Harvard Partners brings practical solutions to strategic IT issues in a collaborative and engaging manner. We inspire excellence from IT organizations by identifying opportunities for improved performance, minimizing risk, and training and coaching staff.