Beyond Bells & Whistles: Helping CEOs Out
An interview with Karen Saunders, Partner in the Assurance Practice at KPMG
When CEOs were asked, as part of a KPMG-Computerworld survey a little over a year ago, where they thought executive control over IT would ideally reside in the future, 60 percent said with senior business executives. A smaller 25 percent nominated the CIO/IT leader and 15 percent pointed to the CFO/COO.
Even more so today; far from the scenario of CEOs rushing to sign off on expensive IT projects, motivated primarily by the terror of being late the party, business chiefs are asking more questions than ever before about the relationship between potential IT projects and their value-add to the bottom line. So inquisitive are these CEOs that KPMG found a gap in the marketplace for a product they call Rapid Business Value Analysis, a tool (still in pilot phase) used to evaluate a proposed technology-inside of 30 days-within the larger context of the company’s business objectives, so that the company winds up with a business tool and not a bell or whistle.
How does this tool work? What’s a practical example?
Our tool focuses on those areas of a company that will most be impacted by a technology decision———-in terms of their processes, how those fit in with the company’s overall objective, how they impact the bottom line. By looking at it that way, and presenting an analysis as more of a business case scenario, companies can look at how it impacts the bottom line. For example, let’s take the sales process. We would look at what putting this IT application on a salespersons laptop does for them in terms of how they go out and sell, the timeliness of getting information back and forth. How does it make his or her role more efficient? Does that translate into saving dollars or increased revenue?
The cost-savings numbers are often harder to quantify, aren’t they?
True. And some of the benefits we may find may be non-quantifiable, but your common sense or your reasonable man or woman will be able to say, “by having this technology available this person’s going to be more efficient.”
Would you agree CEOs are becoming far more adept at seeing past technology for its own sake and more for its business benefit?
Yes, I think CEOs do see beyond the bells and whistles but I don’t know that they’re always able to quantify that or put that down in a business case analysis.
Why should the analysis happen within 30 days?
Time is money. The quicker you can make a decision, and move on, the quicker those benefits can translate to your bottom line. We know that things change rapidly out there. If you’re spending a significant amount of time evaluating an IT investment strategy, you might be missing other opportunities. In looking at the product, what it offers, what we envision what the deliverable will be, an appropriate time.
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