Judgement Call

Judgement Call

NOTE: This is the second installment in a two-part series covering the recent CIO (US) Enterprise Value Achievement Awards. This week's stories include the judging methodology used to determine the victors, along with a further three winning case studies.

Each year, CIO (US) honours the people behind the latest and greatest technology-enabled business achievements. These are the people whose projects have altered a core process, an organisation, a market or even an industry. These are the folks who make a difference. Because of them, there is simply no point to adhering to "the way we've always done things".

As early as 1993, CIO recognized enterprise value by what we dubbed ROIT-return on investment from information technology. Of the six winners that year, one-Texas Instruments-had sufficiently consolidated its purchasing activities into a single system to reduce labor costs and shorten product cycle times.

Another-The Perrier Group of America-quenched its customers' thirst for improved service by combining redundant standalone branches into regional centers.

But the Enterprise Value Awards have come a long way since then. And so have our honorees. Companies are no longer automating the way they work so much as they are changing the way they work. In fact, a look at this year's winners shows that a system like Charles Schwab's Internet Trading Customer Center is changing how an entire industry-not just a single company-operates.

The Enterprise Value Awards judges admit that they are amazed at how each year's success stories serve to raise the bar still higher for next year's finalists. "The winners have developed some of the most rigorous processes in their industries," says third-year judge Chris Hoenig, president of Exolve, a consultancy. "These companies have figured out how to squeeze business value out of IT in an impressive way."

But getting there wasn't easy. This year's winners endured a particularly tough due-diligence routine. Last summer, CIO editors got together with the award's seven-member process team, an expert group of IT practitioners and consultants, to examine dozens of applications we received from awards contenders. Together, editors and process team members set about their task of narrowing the field by making sure that each applicant met the required entry criteria, including that the system in question had been operational for two years and that it could demonstrate significant ROI and a decisive business impact. To make sure the finalists passed muster, the process team visited company sites and conducted interviews with sponsoring executives and business users to explore the claimed value, validate the results and then present their findings to the award judges.

The judging took place at a daylong October meeting at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Judges debated the merits of the 11 finalists before finally selecting five winners and one honorable mention. In reaching their decisions, the judges considered several qualifying conditions. The project must have Benefits derived from the innovative use of IT Produced measurable, demonstrable and verifiable results Exemplified the types of initiatives that CIOs in the industry would be proud to have accomplished Favourable comparisons with prior winners-not just stand out among the other applicants Ultimately the judges' decisions were enhanced by the filter of their own perceptions and experiences. They based their final vote on a few key points: Did the system in question have impact on company objectives? On the industry? On the community? Was it innovative? To what degree were the actions either courageous or unique? And what, if any, was the project's lasting value?

When the judges came to the table to pick this year's winners, they understood that lasting value would come in many shapes and sizes, but when done right, it would transform a business, or at least a process. "First and foremost, you must understand business value. Knowing how to achieve it, even knowing what it looks like six months in the future, is a challenge for any company," says first-year judge Peter Solvik, senior vice president and CIO of Cisco Systems. "The speed of change is always increasing, and you can't always predict what the next type of value is going to be."

By creating an award that honors the people behind such uniquely innovative solutions, CIO hopes to bring to the forefront the role models for IT excellence in all industries. "What makes this award unique is the intensity and overall honesty of the process," says Richard Swanborg, president and founder of Icex in Boston and Cochair of the Enterprise Value Awards with CIO Editor in Chief Abbie Lundberg. "Since the process team digs out the facts, and the judges review the applications only on the merits of the case, the winners can be assured that they truly deserve this recognition."

Application forms for the 2001 CIO Enterprise Value Awards can be found in upcoming issues of CIO. A copy of the application form can be downloaded from Deadline for entry is June 15, 2000. For more information, contact Lisa Kerber at 508 935-4449 or via e-mail at

Courtly Crew

A look at this year's judges and process team members Here are the members of the process team and the judges who helped make the 2000 Enterprise Value Awards the best yet.

The Judges

Gregor Bailar

Senior Vice President and CIO

National Association of Securities DealersJohn GlaserVice President and CIOPartners HealthCare SystemChristopher HoenigPresidentExolvePeter SolvikSenior Vice President and CIOCisco SystemsPatricia M. WallingtonFormer CIOXeroxThe Process TeamJim McGeePartnerDiamond Technology PartnersVirginia ReckExecutive Vice PresidentKendall Consulting GroupMary Silva DoctorExecutive DirectorIcexSheila J. SmithManaging PartnerOmega Point ConsultingJohn StorckAssistant Professor of ISBoston UniversityRichard Swanborg,Cochair, Enterprise Value AwardsPresident and FounderIcexMadeline WeissPresidentWeiss Associates

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