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I recently came across a report by Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) called “Seeing the Big Picture: A Corporate Guide to Better Decisions Through IT”. I’d like to devote this post to sharing some of their insights on how to make better corporate decisions through IT:
Information visibility does not mean flooding the executive team with all the information the firm can get its hands on – statistics about products, competitors, suppliers, customers, etc – some of which may relate to the problem at hand, but most of which is simply peripheral, irrelevant data. To make better decisions, companies must have a firm grasp of data management, so that executives can extract the relevant information whenever they need it.
The key to doing that is establishing a common set of metrics across your company. According to TEC, “The use of different metrics, terms and standards can impair the organization’s ability to communicate effectively and meet compliance standards. More importantly, it can hamper management’s ability to aggregrate information to create a unified view of all the company’s business information”.
According to TEC, about 57% of companies do not have a common set of metrics to work with. In the BPO and IT industry where new business often depends on customer satisfaction scores, that could be costly.
This is where the IT department can really play a strategic role, by designing analytics and reporting tools to provide quick access to the relevant information, customized to the firm’s needs. TEC suggests that they work with management to develop performance indicators as well, to assist the execs in making informed decisions. Once these processes are standardized, they can be used again and again with minimal modification.
Alignment and coordination between departments in the company is often overlooked in favour of each part simply working at their optimal level. But for firms to truly move ahead, especially in today’s competitive sourcing world, the corporate strategy and company goals need to be at the core of every business decision at every level. In short, business alignment.
TEC says that IT can help with corporate alignment again by “providing tools to create a centralized and unified view of all the company’s critical information”. That provides the visibility necessary to ensure that departmental activities are in line with the overall corporate strategy.
In my next post, we’ll be discussing the views of Forrester Research on the changing role of the IT department.