The 5E Framework for Targeted IT Consolidation


The 5E Framework for Targeted IT Consolidation

Monday, February 21st, 2011 - 16:17
Monday, February 21, 2011 - 14:58
To encourage industry-driven, competitive solutions, CIOs should focus on “what” rather than “how”. 5E decision framework is a methodical approach to identifying IT consolidation targets. With no reprieve from budget deficits and greater investment scrutiny, 5E additionally allows CIOs to formulate a strong business case.

RaviThe 5E Framework for Targeted IT Consolidation – First in a Series: Ted Levitt, a marketing author, observed “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” When considering IT consolidation, it’s easy to be snared in the vicious circle of how, when and what. Instead of initially focusing on what needs to be done (“We need a quarter inch hole on the north facing wall”), organizations may fritter energies on the mandating methods of performing the task (“Let’s buy a quarter inch drill”). Make no mistake, the latter is important too, but the CIO’s valuable time should be focused on the former. Operational details can be formulated by internal IT resources and/or external system integrators. Drilling a quarter inch hole without severing the wires and pipes in the wall requires a blueprint, experience and the knowledge of an experienced professional to execute the blueprint flawlessly. In other words, IT must be aligned with the business strategy. 

This approach is in consonance with the Federal Government’s performance-based services acquisition (PBSA)[1] methodology. It also frees up leadership for the core mission. It gives latitude to internal IT and external system integrators to pick approaches to best meet strategic consolidation objectives. Finally, it simplifies procurement, reduces contracting oversight and significantly reduces the probability of expensive contractor protests[2].

But is there a methodical approach to identifying IT consolidation targets in alignment with the business strategy? I propose the 5E Decision Framework that can facilitate the due diligence discussion. With no reprieve from budget deficit on the horizon and greater investment scrutiny, this framework – comprised of expenditure, effectiveness, efficiency, exposure and execution –allows CIOs to prioritize projects and formulate a strong business case.

I will be expanding on each of the 5 “Es” in a series of blog posts over the next week or two.

[1] Seven Steps to Performance-Based Services Acquisition (

[2] “Google claims U.S. excluded it from contract” (, New York Times (November 1, 2010).



Ravi Bansal is a project executive and a strategist at IBM Global Business Services. He is a proven business leader with experience proposing, leading and delivering multimillion-dollar business solutions. In addition, Mr. Bansal is a strategist for IBM federal’s cloud computing and smarter government initiatives. He authored 5E framework for targeted IT consolidation and the strategic framework for cloud alliances. He is passionate about cloud computing, cleantech, next generation business strategies and most importantly, helping clients articulate vision for their business.

Mr. Bansal is one of IBM Americas’ top consultants and has also been inducted in IBM’s delivery excellence circle. Over years he has been honored with numerous awards for outstanding business performance and exceptional client service. Outside of direct work responsibilities, he is involved in an eclectic collection of giveback activities. Among other things, he was an officer of the Executive Committee of Metropolitan Washington Mensa, canvasser for IBM employee charitable contributions campaign and a guest speaker at business schools. Mr. Bansal is a graduate of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with majors in Finance and Strategy.