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From Cost to Value: Shifting IT Conversation

The value of Information Technology has been made more clearly understood these days. Many organizations now understand how to give talks more emphasis on providing value, the significance of IT and its multitude of benefits rather than focus on the costs and the arduous task of minimizing budgets. Although IT leaders and executives have made strides in this regard, many, especially CIOs still struggle somewhat in the “cost to value” conversational shift.  This article from CIO-Asia's Martha Heller gives us an in-depth look on how Adobe CIO Gerri Martin-Flickinger worked to achieve just that.

Simplify. That’s where Martin-Flickinger started to accomplish her goals. “We were using all of these complex financial models to report on how we were spending our IT dollars,” she says. “But the model was too complicated to tell the right story.” She then had the insight that with all things in IT, simplest is always best and started using pie charts on every dashboard and report for the executive committee. “I started using a pie chart that had only three sections: operations, new delivery, and depreciation.” The dashboard was concise and clearly illustrated the impact that IT had on the business. “This made a major difference with my CEO, it sounds so simple, but for me, it was the secret sauce in focusing our executives on how we are spending our IT budget.”

According to Martin-Flickinger, you have to deliver before you ask permission to play at the bigger table.  “Do not rush into these innovative initiatives,” she cautions. “You have to make that back-office sing before you move closer to the product. Martin-Flickinger initially educated on the difference between operational and strategic investments, shifting the dialogue to value before she worked on moving forward with her other goals.

All in all, simple solutions are still the best way to go when it comes to conversations, especially regarding IT. Rather than concerning about costs and expenses, IT heads should focus more on the importance of IT and its strategic role and reap the benefits.

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About Kristian Dayrit

Kristian Dayrit was the Associate Editor and Content Writer for AITS Philippines. He has edited and wrote various published works, articles, newsletters and such since 2007.

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