One of the major issues IT executives face is how to charge their departmental costs back to each part of the business according to their usage. It’s a touchy issue that can be the source of end-user disenchantment with the performance and contribution of the IT organization. Ultimately, charge-back friction can hobble IT’s ability to make necessary investments in new capabilities and become the primary cause of misallocated IT spending. The two risks are related: Unless an IT department can calculate the real costs of the services it provides to specific parts of the business and charge for them accordingly, it is almost impossible for line-of-business department managers to assign priorities to the “keep the lights on” part of the budget, so even low-priority maintenance or upgrade efforts can crowd out all but the most pressing needs. The issue of allocating IT department costs spills over to Finance, which typically handles the allocations in budgeting and profit calculations. As a first step toward establishing an effective means of funding the IT function, I believe the finance department must establish better methods of allocating IT costs. Eventually the proper allocation of IT costs also becomes an issue for senior corporate executives as well because it has a direct impact on how effectively a company uses information technology.
Topics: Analytics, Budgeting, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), CEO, CFO, CIO, Enterprise Software, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Operational Performance Management (OPM), Performance Management, Office of Finance
At its annual Influencer’s Summit in Boston, SAP offered multiple perspectives on where the company’s strategy and products are heading. Overall, I was struck by the essential similarities to its message on its strategic direction a decade ago. The overarching objective in its roadmap now, as then, is to have information technology increasingly adapt to the needs of individual users and how they choose to execute established/repetitive or ad-hoc processes, rather than forcing them to adapt to the limitations of the technologies they are using. Back then the idea was to create a comprehensive process framework – a closely coupled approach. Today, it’s essentially the opposite, as SAP products run on an architecture that enables flexibility – a loosely coupled approach – both in how the computing infrastructure is organized and how people execute their tasks. It seems to me that this reflects the impact of having choices between cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) and on-premises systems and the need to enable access through a variety of devices (from desktops to mobile handhelds and tablets). Mobility is important both for people whose roles take them beyond the firewall (in sales, service and logistics, for example) and executives and managers who often find themselves managing by walking around. Tablets, smartphones and similar devices are attractive also because people consider them personal items and associate them with fun, whereas desktops and notebooks are corporate and work-related.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance Management (BPM), Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, ERP, finance, Financial Performance Management, Financial Performance Management (FPM), GRC, In-memory, Mobility, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Risk, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SAP, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Office of Finance
One of the many interesting findings that came out of Ventana Research’s comprehensive benchmark research on business analytics was partly buried in an analysis of maturity groups. The Maturity Index of our research benchmarks classifies organizations at four maturity levels (from bottom to top, Tactical, Advanced, Strategic and Innovative) in each of four categories: People, Process, Information and Technology. We’ve conducted more than 100 benchmarks during the past seven years, covering thousands of organizations and gauging their maturity in performing important operations. We’ve consistently found an interrelationship among the people, process, information and technology dimensions in every major business issue. That is, companies that fall short in one dimension tend to fall short in others, and usually to the same degree, precisely because corporate pathologies are self-reinforcing.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance Management (BPM), Business Technology, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Enterprise Software, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), Information Technology, IT Performance Management (ITPM), Mobility, Operational Intelligence, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Social Media, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), CIO
The hospitality industry has a complex structure. It is highly fragmented, with many small operations but also a significant number of global companies. Moreover, a property can be managed by one company (the brand name over the door) yet owned by another, which might be a one-off local real-estate partnership or a larger-scale owner of multiple sites. The consumer side of hospitality has its own challenges as well, resulting from the dramatic shifts brought about by the Internet in how people worldwide buy travel and leisure services.
Topics: Analytics, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Enterprise Software, Hospitality, Infor, Information Management (IM), Operational Performance Management (OPM), Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Business Intelligence, CIO
Wall Street has many leading indicators to work with, some serious – such as housing starts and the purchasing managers’ index – and some done a bit tongue-in-cheek. One of the latter is the Super Bowl Indicator, which says that if a team from the original National Football League wins the game, the market will be up for the year, but if an old American Football League team wins it, the market will be down. The amazing thing is that so far this heuristic has an accuracy rate better than 75%! On the other hand, over time some venerable weather vanes become unreliable. For example, the “hem line theory” (that stocks rise and fall with the direction of this aspect of women’s fashion) lost its (ahem) legs, partly because fashion these days is much more anarchic.
Topics: Business Performance Management (BPM), Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Salesforce.com, Business Intelligence
Vishal Sikka raised an important point about the software business during his remarks at the SAP Global Influencer Summit that my colleague just assessed (See: “SAP Elevates Technology Strategy for Enterprise Software and Solutions“). He contrasted the business strategy of consolidation that other companies are pursuing with his view of SAP’s strategy of innovation. In one sense, this assertion is an attempt to disparage Oracle’s and to some extent IBM’s approach to constructing an IT business portfolio, even though SAP itself has been a consolidator in recent years. (Business Objects and Sybase, for example, are significant components of SAP’s product universe and go-forward strategy.) However, I believe consolidation vs. innovation is an important point to consider as we enter the second decade of the 21st century because it points to the potential for a basic shift in the dynamics of the software business.
Looking forward to Oracle OpenWorld, I was recalling that about 20 years ago, when I started covering the software industry as a Wall St. analyst, I paid a visit to the company. There were many fewer database-shaped glass buildings there in Redwood Shores then but the lack of corporate focus on business applications and users remains unchanged.
Topics: Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Enterprise Software, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), Information Technology, IT Performance Management (ITPM), Operational Performance Management (OPM), Oracle, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Business Intelligence