Microsoft IT applies COBIT control objects with Microsoft business intelligence tools

I want to follow a previous post, IT audits, COBIT, and using business intelligence in SharePoint 2010, with a scenario that shows how Microsoft’s IT department applies the Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT) framework guidance to monitor and evaluate IT performance.

In early 2007, Chief Information Officer (CIO) Stuart Scott charged the IT leadership team at Microsoft to adopt an internal portal solution based on Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Server 2007 for centralizing and sharing business intelligence tools and information across the entire organization. This is the Microsoft Consolidated Business Intelligence (Microsoft CBI) BI portal, developed and maintained by the Business Intelligence Center of Excellence (BI COE) within the Microsoft Information Technology (Microsoft IT) group.


Microsoft IT maintains a complex reporting environment with a substantial number of server-based business intelligence systems. The multiple analysis systems, data repositories, intelligence gathering methods, and reporting methods that Microsoft business units employ introduce business and technical challenges. These challenges include multiple business intelligence silos, non-uniform reports, and complicated permission schemes for data sharing.


To help Microsoft business units make better and faster decisions, Microsoft IT developed a custom solution, the Microsoft CBI portal, based on Microsoft products and technologies. The Microsoft CBI portal enables Microsoft business units to exploit the potential of the Microsoft business intelligence solutions more fully, more securely, and in closer collaboration with partners and vendors. While solving the problem of disparate BI silos, the CBI portal also applied COBIT’s control object, monitor and evaluate, to help establish a general monitoring framework and process for measuring IT’s solution and service delivery. Microsoft integrated a framework with a corporate performance management system.

As part of the solution, Microsoft used Systems Center Operations Manager as a tool for gathering system information combined with PerformancePoint Server 2007 for surfacing dashboards to management. The framework is architected to enable web-based dashboards that can provide an integrated (balanced) view of IT performance. Dashboards include scorecards that allow any type of key performance indicators (KPIs) to be rolled up into a score for a particular application area, overall IT performance. The following is an example of a dashboard page for measuring service level agreements (SLAs.) The scorecard includes availability KPIs for various system components, or managed entities including web sites, databases, and windows servers. The KPIs include multiple targets for measuring status against an internal IT target and an external service level agreement. Managed entities may be grouped into custom categories such as “Gold, Silver, and Bronze” as shown below, or lines or business (LOB) throughout the organization.


By incorporating the dashboard for monitoring the SLA, Microsoft is working towards satisfying “the business requirement for IT of transparency and understanding of IT cost, benefits, strategy, policies and service levels” and achieves level 3 of the Monitor and Evaluate maturity model.

The whitepaper for this solution is here.

Other references:

Microsoft Business Intelligence: Thinking Bigger About BI
Microsoft IT Showcase: How Microsoft Does IT

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