IT can separate winners from losers in today’s economy

Sunday, 10 October 2010 22:45 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The global economic recovery continues but is highly uneven, and prospects for individual companies vary greatly. A key factor that can separate winners from losers in this environment is information technology, says a new report from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The report, titled ‘IT Advantage: Fall 2010,’ discusses several ways in which IT can support or even drive a company’s performance. It also provides examples of how the IT organisation can optimise its own capabilities to maximise IT’s value added.

The report leads off with an interview with Eric Baudson, Head of Global IT and Operations at Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank. Baudson discusses his ongoing efforts to optimise IT’s value to the company as well as the IT-specific challenges of managing through the downturn. He also offers thoughts on change management within IT and how the role of the CIO is likely to evolve over time.

The report also features a discussion of a primary focus for many companies today—innovation—and the critical role that information technology can play in its pursuit. IT can enable and drive improved customer experiences, new and better products and services, even entirely new business models. The key is knowing how to leverage it. This article offers thoughts on how to approach the task. ‘IT Advantage: Fall 2010’ covers a range of other topics related to maximising IT’s value to the business and optimising IT’s performance. Among the subjects that the report addresses are the following:

Cloud computing in large enterprises. Cloud computing is being heralded by many as a game-changer for IT practices. This article concludes that “the cloud” may indeed transform IT management over the longer term, shifting how corporations consume computing resources, collaborate with outsiders, and create new businesses. But most companies are nowhere near that point.

A “gold standard” for managing IT for business value. The Innovation Value Institute’s recently launched IT Capability Maturity Framework is a state-of-the-art tool designed to help companies optimise their IT capabilities and maximise IT’s delivery of business value. This article discusses the framework and its application.

Improving IT efficiency in government. The Australian Government managed a fundamental overhaul of its IT, one that trimmed AU$1 billion in costs without negatively affecting the delivery of government services. This article provides the details. It holds lessons for both public and private sectors.

Optimising IT architectures in the insurance industry. A streamlined and optimised IT architecture can translate into competitive advantage for insurance companies. This article offers insurers a blueprint for tackling the challenge, from defining a vision to ensuring that the right IT skills are on hand for implementation. “IT can be a powerful competitive weapon in the current economic and business environment,” said Wolfgang Thiel, Global Leader of BCG’s Information Technology practice and one of the report’s co-authors. “But it remains largely underutilised. Companies would do well to more actively exploit it. Doing so could be the difference between success and stagnation.”