It's The IT, Stupid! How IT Savvy Do Business Executives Need To Be?

Earlier this year I told you the story of a business executive who told us how critical is that business — not IT — drive process improvement initiatives. Here is another interesting case my colleague VP and Principal Analyst John Rymer and I have just witnessed.

It is the story of a business organization that developed an IT strategy based on three best practices:

  1. The core business processes would be implemented on a single modern, flexible platform.
  2. The platform would be service-oriented to ensure clear accountabilities and flexibility for future needs.
  3. The platform development and operations would be outsourced to a shared services provider.

We reviewed the strategy 10 years after it was conceived to find out that it has not yet achieved its top strategic goal. More disturbing:

  • The development investment has been far greater than expected at the outset.
  • The annual cost of IT operations doubled versus the base line.
  • The reliability of the processes converted to the new environment went down.
Read more

TechniData Capabilities Will Fuel SAP’s On-Demand Sustainability Strategy

As announced in April, SAP told us this week that it formally completed the acquisition of its longtime partner TechniData — a 500-employee company headquartered in Germany with a presence in both Asia and the United States. TechniData provides sustainability solutions in three areas: 1) health and safety; 2) product safety;  and 3) environmental compliance — for example, process consulting, software services, information on regulatory content, and managed services for EU’s REACH regulation.

Forrester Senior Analyst Holger Kisker and I had the opportunity to talk recently with Jürgen Schwab, the former chairman and CEO of TechniData; Marty Etzel, SAP’s VP of Sustainability Solutions; and Dieter Hässlein, SAP’s VP of Solutions Management for Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S). They told us that SAP has created a sustainability consulting hub accommodating more than 100 consultants, including the former TechniData staff, to support SAP’s sustainability strategy. They also explained the reasons for the acquisition: 1) focusing on content as an integral part of SAP’s sustainability strategy; 2) expanding and refining SAP’s expertise and customer base both beyond the chemicals industry and geographically, as well, in particular in Asia; and 3) improving the capabilities of SAP’s current preconfigured sustainability-related solutions.

Read more