A true assessment of IT value today must include its power to transform enterprises, industries and society as a whole.
I.T. value used to be measured in dollars saved - whether by cutting costs, reducing head count or improving efficiency. But IT value has changed. Today, IT is often a catalyst that triggers massive, beneficial transformations in organisations. The notion of value has also extended beyond the company walls to business partners, to industry and to society as a whole. This new value proposition is reflected in the winners of this year's CIO Enterprise Value Awards.
When CIO launched its Enterprise Value Awards program 10 years ago, IT value was a very different animal. Back then, we measured it in terms of dollars saved - whether by cutting costs, reducing head count, improving efficiency - or some such indicator. The metrics we used were those of the bottom line, easy for bean counters and chief executives to understand.
But the nature of IT value has changed. Today, the value IT adds to the enterprise is both greater and, ironically, more difficult to measure (and consequently harder to comprehend) than ever before. Today, the value derived from information technology goes beyond trimming costs and boosting productivity. IT is now a catalyst that triggers massive, beneficial transformations in organisations, markets, industries and even the world. It changes the way companies do business.
"In the past we thought of IT as an enabler of business processes - we looked for productivity and efficiency gains," says judge Rebecca Rhoads, vice president and CIO for Raytheon in Lexington, Mass. "What we are seeing now is transformation." Indeed, as companies reach out to new markets and tap into new revenue streams, the definition of what it means to be in business is changing. Technology still produces significant economic savings, of course, but now it goes beyond that to help achieve strategic goals that in these competitive times often make the difference between success and failure, survival and extinction. In short, the units of measurement for IT value are now an order of magnitude larger than they were 10 years ago. Today, IT delivers value right to the core.
Now that IT has extended its influence so deeply and so pervasively, handing out Enterprise Value Awards has become a more intricate, more challenging endeavor. "This year [the judging process] was particularly fun and stimulating," says Doug Barker, vice president and CIO for The Nature Conservancy in Arlington, Va., and a longtime judge for the awards. "I have watched IT value over the last several years progress from supporting a business, to enabling a business, to really being a driver of business."
This year we honour five organisations with Enterprise Value Awards: Dow Chemical, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and SBC Communications. Each of these winning companies exemplifies in its own way just how far we've com
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