MIS Quarterly Executive


Investment Spend Optimization—ISO—is a disciplined, business-driven, enterprise-wide approach to evaluating and managing IT investments. Devised by BMO Financial Group, it has been used since mid-2007 for the annual IT budget-setting process. The ISO process enables the bank to articulate the expected return on its IT investment and to closely track that return, with business managers being held accountable for IT spending. This article describes the ISO process in detail—the way projects are categorized and prioritized, the governance structure, and the annual planning process. It also describes the substantial qualitative, quantitative, and ancillary benefits BMO has obtained from adopting ISO. The article concludes by identifying the lessons other organizations can learn from BMO’s experience and providing guidelines they can use for devising their own approaches to making better IT investment decisions.