A Professional Development Program for organizations seeking to be more effective in bringing about transformational change through investments in Information Technology and for those seeking to find more value from their large IT budgets.

3 Days

  • Coming soon


  • $2,450.00 + HST


Organizations spend large sums on Information and Communications Technology but are often left in doubt as to the real returns on these investments. IT is seen as essential to transforming organizations but too often is accused of consuming funds without meeting expectations.

Dr. Gerald Grant of the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University and Rob Collins, former CIO of Cognos and the City of Ottawa, argue that instead of applying a rigid engineering approach, executives should think more like a farmer, taking an agricultural view that gives primacy to delivering the ‘harvest’: business value resulting from IT investments. By focusing on that harvest instead of only the schedule, organizations can ensure that they get the results that they need or that they can kill projects early before they have wasted precious resources.

The Agricultural Model encompasses everything required to realize measurable business value from the large investments in Information Technology. While most approaches to IT focus on the project, the Agricultural Model recognizes that this is only the Planting phase. It is not sufficient to just obtain technology just as it is not sufficient just to put seed in the ground. The technology must be cultivated to fit the needs of the organization and its goals. The organization itself must be nurtured to exploit that new technology. This extends beyond the IT department to those parts of the organization that are responsible for bringing in the harvest – the real business value created by the exploitation of the new technology. A harvest must be actively reaped. This means it must be measured and assessed against the original objectives of the investment. But organizations do not invest for a single harvest. They must ensure that they reap the benefits year after year. This requires a renewal phase which addresses the whole farm – the technology portfolio. And it must tie back to the original strategy which spawned the investment in the first place. Only at the end of this cycle can an organization fully evaluate the results of its investment and the impact it had on the organizational strategy.

This approach is not limited to new projects. This same Agricultural Model can be used to audit existing IT systems for business value. This can provide the basis for better management of those large IT budgets and create common ground between IT and the rest of the organization.

Organizations needs to:

  • ensure they are not missing out on the benefits of technology
  • defend against competitive threats from technologically-based new entrants in the market or more agile competitors
  • be prepared for market disruptions made possible by new technology
  • avoid falling behind the expectations of their customers, donors or tax-payers that can result in a loss of revenue or funding

IT Leaders need to:

  • Have real and lasting alignment with the rest of the organization
  • Explain the value of IT investments in terms meaningful to the entire organization
  • Have demonstrable proof of IT’s contribution in metrics that make sense outside of IT
  • Engage the organization to make hard decisions
  • Eliminate the churn of constant plan and priority changes

Financial Leaders need to:

  • Understand how IT investment/spend fit with organizational objectives
  • Assess the business value that will be returned from a specific IT investment
  • Assess the overall business value of the large IT budget
  • Kill IT projects early if they are not going to provide the necessary ROI

Business Leaders need to:

  • Transform their business processes by taking advantage of the potential of IT
  • Become faster and more efficient
  • Tie strategy to investment and outcomes
  • Be able to effectively articulate and understand the potential of technology without having to become technology experts.
  • Lead successful technology implementation projects with the support of IT

Who Should Attend

The program is best suited to senior leaders in all aspects of the organization:

  • Information Technology
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • Chief Technology Officer
  • Senior Program Manager
  • Chief Architect
  • Finance
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Internal Auditor
  • Senior Program Manager
  • Business
  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • Chief Digital Officer
  • Business Program Manager charged with exploiting information technology

This program is designed to catalyze and strengthen conversations and understanding within business leadership teams about their organizations’ strategic investments in IT. It is most effective when two or more attendees from different parts of the same organization attend together. An ideal mix would be the business leader, IT leader, and senior finance person tasked with bringing about transformational change to the organization through an investment in information technology. Bringing a real world problem that will be dealt with during the program will result not only in better educated leaders but a better strategy for a critical effort that has the benefit of the instructors and other attendees.

Of course, individual attendees will be able to take full advantage of the program and bring back the models and ideas to their organizations so that they can be disseminated throughout.

This program meets the educational requirements of accounting and other professional organizations.

Key Benefits

Organizations will be able to:

  • Exploit the potential of new technology and avoid missing out on strategic benefits
  • Be better able to respond to threats from technically-focused competitors inside and outside their field
  • Avoid being blindsided by changes in customer and user behaviour that leaves otherwise perfectly-good business solutions suddenly obsolete
  • Ensure that technology projects deliver real business value
  • Avoid runaway projects that consume dollars without commensurate returns
  • Ensure they don’t end up on the news due to project failures

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Justify investments by clearly showing relevance to organizational strategy
  • Create sustainable alignment across the organization
  • Deliver real business value instead of just technology that falls short of its promise
  • Assign authority and accountability across the organization to deliver business value
  • Put in a governance process that focuses on results and can end projects early if they are not going to succeed
  • Measure results
  • Articulate and manage risk
  • Evaluate the entire IT portfolio of technology and costs
  • Create and use effective communication tools that go beyond technical jargon and numbers

Program In Detail

Day 1

  • The Challenge of Business Management
  • Understand the potential and threats that technology offers and provide context relevant to your organization
  • An environmental scan of the opportunities and challenges facing organizations as a result of information technology today
  • Discussion – Your Real World Problems
  • Make a positive impact on the organization at the end of the program
  • Attendees are encouraged to bring actual work issues that will be discussed and advanced as part of the program. Each day, time is set aside to deal with these.
  • The Value Cycle
  • Create alignment by clearly stating the return from any investment in terminology meaningful to everyone
  • This model, developed by the authors, offers a unique and more effective means of communicating business value in terms that are comprehensible to all inside and outside the organization.
  • Alignment and the Engineering Model
  • Learn about the pitfalls that have bedevilled past investments
  • Understanding the flaws in these that have led to such a poor track record for IT investments.
  • The Agricultural Model
  • Learn an improved model that addresses the whole organization and covers everything necessary to achieve a measurable return on a strategic investment
  • * The Agricultural Model looks to agri-business as a paradigm that deals successfully with change and uncertainty. This model is a more useful metaphor to IT investments meant to bring about transformative change than the restricted and discredited engineering model in use today.

Day 2

  • The Value Realization Cycle
  • Understand the process that starts from organizational strategy and leads through IT projects to real measurable results
  • This model, developed by the authors, shows how investments, based on strategy, move through a cycle which sees all parts of the organization play their part. In moving from investment to technology to process impact and finally to results, it ties together everything necessary to realize the business value desired.
  • Governance
  • No investment can succeed without effective governance
  • The Agricultural Model, Value Cycle and Value Realization Cycle provide a new context which enables more effective governance. Processes such as project management, budget, risk analysis, design and development methodologies and others all come together within this overarching framework.
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Learn how to use an old tool in a new way to effectively communicate the complexity of IT
  • This should not just be a blueprint for the technically-minded. A proper Enterprise Architecture should be a communication vehicle that informs all levels and departments of the organization making complexity comprehensible and clearly showing the impact of decisions and potential changes.
  • Portfolio Management
  • Be able to assess the value of new and past investments
  • As an investment advisor reviews many properties and options to achieve a broad goal through correct investments, so a portfolio approach should articulate the status, potential and issues with the full cost and benefit of all past, and future, IT investments.
  • Sourcing
  • Make the best decisions on how to acquire technology
  • Examining the pros and cons of insourcing and outsourcing in context of the learning thus far.

Day 3

  • Metrics
  • If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
  • This module will look at what to measure, when and for whom.
  • Return on Investment
  • The resulting value must be expressed in terms meaningful to everyone, not just the technically adept
  • ROI, or other organizational standard measure, is the ultimate expression of the business value to be achieved from the investment. This section covers how to articulate and use ROI to make decisions and facilitate governance.
  • The Role of the Leadership
  • Without good leadership there will not be good returns
  • Understand the role of the CEO, CIO, CFO and business leaders in context of the Agricultural Model, Value Cycle, and Value Realization Cycle.
  • Assignment Review
  • Apply what you have learned to the work you will return to
  • Taking the real-world problems with attendees brought to the course, each will review their plans to address them upon their return to the office armed with what they have learned thus far. These assignments will be critiqued and enhanced by the instructors and other attendees


Dr. Gerald Grant

Dr. Gerald Grant is Director of the Centre for Information Technology, Organizations, and People (CITOP) and Associate Professor at the Sprott School of Business, Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He obtained his PhD in Information Systems from the London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom. Dr Grant’s work focuses on the strategic management of information systems in organizations, particularly on issues around governance of IT in organizational and inter-organizational settings. He has consulted internationally for organizations such as the Commonwealth Secretariat in the U.K., the COMNET-IT Foundation in Malta and the Government of Jamaica. He is a seasoned presenter, has developed and presented workshops and seminars to audiences across the world, including Canada, USA, UK, South Africa, Brazil, Malaysia, Malta, Jamaica, Colombia, Zimbabwe, among others. Dr Grant is also a member of the Advisory Board of DPI-The Association of Public Sector Information Professionals.

Robert Collins

Rob Collins is a technology executive with more than 35 years experience. He has worked with organization in all industries throughout the world. In 2013, Rob was Transitional CIO for the City of Ottawa where he was brought in to change that organization’s approach to IT. To do this, he implemented a new planning model, new governance process and reorganized the IT department. Rob spent twenty years with Cognos, Inc., including roles as product line Vice-President and Chief Information Officer.

Effective Academic Models with Real World


It is the combination of the rigour of the academic standard provided by Dr. Grant tempered by the real-world experience of Mr. Collins that sets this program apart from others offered solely by individuals from one world or the other. Dr. Grant and Mr. Collins have developed this work over five years of research working with IT, Finance and business leaders from private industry, government and non-profit organizations.

The Text Book

The results of this research are available in the book, The Value Imperative: Harvesting Value From Your IT Initiatives, published by Palgrave MacMillan. This book will be provided to all attendees. It covers all the material from the program with added depth and examples to support the effort to apply the learning when the attendees get back to the job.