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  • AIS Educator Conference - 1999 A practitioners view of AIS undergraduate and graduate degree program objectives Steve Berthe, August 2, 1999 Partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP
  • Today’s Discussion Objectives
    • Stimulate a conversation about educational objectives for AIS graduates by investigating marketplace objectives from a practitioners perspective
    • Establish an assumption set for the role of AIS practitioners in the marketplace
    • Outline the skill set implications for the various roles we see for successful practitioners in management consulting and our clients
  • My Background
    • Undergraduate school in Mechanical Engineering
    • Underground Coal Mining
    • Undergraduate school in Electrical Engineering
    • Graduate school for MBA in Information Systems
    • Touche Ross & Co. - IT strategies, Human Resources, Implementation
    • Entrepreneur - The Student Resource
    • Chief Information Officer
    • Entrepreneur - Price Bedner Consulting LLC
    • Deloitte & Touche LLP - IT strategies, implementation, e-Business, practice management
    This will give you a sense of my “filters”
  • Some thoughts about the marketplace What are we seeing contributing to successful practitioners?
  • Our Information Technology Consulting Skills Development Pyramid Implementation Analysis Strategy Undergraduate or Graduate with aptitude and limited experience Competency in one or more business areas and technologies or special skill Heavy experience, thought leadership Increasing Experience Increasing Head Count 2 to 4 years 2 to 4 years 2 to 4 years
  • Client and Consulting Roles are Fundamentally Different In-depth industry and business knowledge, managing technology, identifying opportunities to leverage IT, know when to get help, how to package and sell assistance, and how to stay in charge and manage the help. Matching industry and client needs with technology, very specific and current skills, confidence and presence, how to package and sell assistance, how to stay focused on the problem at hand, willing to give up the reins and go away. Focus on the business, using, and managing Focus on current knowledge and projects
  • Success Indicators
    • Client Environment
    • Data Warehouse
      • Data mining and interpretation
      • Reporting and analysis tools
    • Process improvement
    • Documentation and Policy definition
    • Business case
    • Help Desk and support
    • Patience
    • Implementation skills
      • Application aptitude
      • Adaptability and creativity
      • Change leadership
      • Patient, persistent and positive
    • Project management
    • Consulting Environment
    • Soft skills
      • Flexibility
      • Command presence
      • Entrepreneurial
      • Impatience and sense of urgency
    • Reporting and analysis tools
    • Project management
    • Business industry and functional knowledge
    • Process improvement
    • Business case
    • Implementation skills
    • Technology infrastructure
      • Network, Database, Development
  • We asked Some of our AIS type Recent Hires for their Opinions ...
    • “I wish I would have at least taken one or two programming classes to help me feel more comfortable with that aspect.”
    • “...a fundamental understanding of how computing is used in a business setting is essential.”
    • “The more a student understands how data is stored and moved in today's environment, the better they would be prepared for Solutions.”
    • “When I graduated from ….. I had no technical training/experience whatsoever. Looking back on that I really wish I would have pursued an MIS degree to go along with my BBA in Accounting.”
  • We asked Some of our AIS type Recent Hires for their Opinions ...
    • “… a better understanding of the technical infrastructure as a whole would have been useful. As well as more understanding of networks, how systems interface, and other misc. technical tidbits.”
    • “ ...include modeling and pro forma techniques that may be taught in accounting or finance classes. Something that would be real hands-on but would also include analysis, once the "data entry" is done. Obviously, Excel would be a big part of that.”
    • “ ..knowledge of databases. That is one area that I received little training in in school and learned mostly by "figure it out yourself, seat of the pants" training.”
  • We asked Some of our AIS type Recent Hires for their Opinions ...
    • “When I was in college at …., only one CIS class was required with a business degree. I started my first job with no practical knowledge of Lotus, mainframes, software, etc. I learned everything on the job.”
    • “From my experience, accounting and finance departments work very closely with IS/IT departments to generate information. If you as a finance person understand the IS side you will have better success in completing your projects.”
  • We asked Some of our AIS type Recent Hires for their Opinions ...
    • “We are expected to review a company's accounting or finance departments and a large part of that organization is systems driven. In order to make recommendations to companies you have to have at least a basic understanding of the IT world.”
    • “I came out of school … with minimal technology skills, and learned most everything I know on an as-needed, on-the-fly basis.”
    Our general consensus is that most business programs may not be teaching enough Information Technology material to satisfy the business marketplace
  • We See a Real Need for Integrating Business and Technical Skills AIS? We find clear distinctions among various technical and business disciplines. At issue, why we get hired, and why we suspect many businesses are not receiving the desired value from their technology investments is the integration of these various disciplines. It’s not about the technology, but that is what I think we teach. It’s about business people that can visualize how to use the technology to their advantage. Business Administration Computer Science Engineering Business Information Systems
  • So, what is the role of the AIS professional? What are the implications for their skill sets as they enter the professional work place?
  • An Assumption Set for the Role of the AIS Practitioner in the Marketplace
    • Defining Information Technology Strategy by linking it with the Business strategy
    • Leading a structured approach for Selecting technology
    • Effectively Implementing selected technology
    • Using Analytical Systems to “mine” business data for management information
    • Changing the role of the financial function from one of score keeping to adding Value to the enterprise
    • Power Tool user and role model
  • We’ll discuss each role in turn For each role I’ll discuss methodologies and trends that we see in the marketplace. They represent the kind of skills we work to build in our people to fill the opportunities we see in industry. Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Defining Information Technology Strategy by linking it with the Business strategy
    • Objectives and Observations
    • Methodology and Trends
    • Indicated Skills
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Defining Information Technology Strategy
    • Objectives
      • Business alignment
      • Rationalize Technology projects and budgets
      • Tactical solutions in a strategic context
    • These projects are frequently lead by most senior people, but real insights frequently come from the less experienced staff given the opportunity to be creative with fresh ideas.
    • The strategy project forms the underpinnings for all future technology investments. It creates the strategic framework within which any tactical solution is undertaken. It simplifies decision making for all future Selection, Implementation, etc.
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Strategy Planning Dimensions Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools Management Infrastructure Applications Information Data Base Management System(s) Operating Systems, LANs, WAN Server, Workstation, and Communications Hardware and Facilities Information Warehousing, Integration, and Sharing Office Automation and Information Access Trans Sys Transaction System Transaction System Transaction System Transaction System Policies & Practices Training & Education Security User, Executive, and Customer Access
  • An Aligning Methodology Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • An Aligning Methodology Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Information Technology Strategy Skills
    • Business and industry
    • Planning and visioning process
    • Interviewing and meeting management
    • Technology dimensions and language
    • Technology aware to be able to translate trends into business language and credibly forecast business implications
    • Consensus building
    • Board Room
    • Organization and communication to clearly layout the multiple dimensions and layers of a frequently complex plan
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Leading a structured approach for Selecting technology
    • Objectives and Observations
    • Methodology and Trends
    • Indicated Skills
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Information Technology Selection
    • Objectives
      • Identify technologies to satisfy IT Strategies
      • Implementation planning
      • Business case to justify investment
    • These projects need to be sponsored by the highest level executive possible. They frequently lead to a very large investment with a dubious business case and significant change. They can not be delegated.
    • The project leader should be forward thinking and well respected from the key operations discipline addressed by the selection. These projects can not be lead by consultants.
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Information Technology Selection
    • Building an appropriate and dedicated selection team is essential to success.
    • Experience managing vendors and the selection process can be facilitated by a consultant. This is a subtle aspect of the selection process that we need to be sure to teach.
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Any Selection Process Usually Includes Three Phases Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools Create and Refine Decision Model Requirements defined, vendors identified, Request for Information issued. Make Preliminary Decision and Business Case Preliminary application(s), technology, and implementation costs and benefits estimated and vendors selected. Refine Business Case and Implementation Plan Expenditure approved. Final application(s), technology, and implementation vendors contracts signed. Implementation scheduled to begin.
  • The Decision Process Balances Several Interrelated Dimensions Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools Technical Fit Functional Fit Business Partner Fit Business Case The technology underlying the application(s) must have long term viability and satisfy your strategic objectives. Choosing partners that are viable, competent, and reliable facilitates a long-term relationship. The application(s) must enable existing or desired business processes.
  • Information Technology Selection Skills
    • Project and scope management
    • Business process improvement
    • Change management
    • Industry, functional (Subject Matter Expert), and technical skills
    • Interviewing and meeting management
    • Consensus building and expectation management
    • Vendor negotiation and management
    • Application operation and implementation
    • Technology infrastructure, operation, and support
    • Business case
    • Board Room
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Effectively Implementing selected technology
    • Objectives and Observations
    • Methodology and Trends
    • Indicated Skills
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Information Technology Implementation
    • Objectives
      • Implement technologies to satisfy IT Strategies
      • Constrained business process improvement
      • On-time and on-budget
    • Frequently these projects iterate during the entire time the application is in place. An initial key is limiting scope so you get done and start achieving benefits from “low hanging fruit.” Then extending the implementation depth in waves to improve:
      • Business processes
      • Analytical information access
      • Customer integration
    • These projects are great training grounds for “new hands” to learn from “old hands”
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • An Phase and Thread Based Implementation Process Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools Project Management Change Leadership Training and Documentation Technology Infrastructure and Customization Hardware and Network; selection, procurement, installation, operation. Software design, development, and installation Leadership commitment, organizational design and change readiness, policies and procedures, performance measurement Project organization, risk management, planning, monitoring, communication, budgeting, staffing, quality assurance Needs assessment, training design and delivery for project team, managers, end users, operations and help desk; Documentation scripting, end user and operations documents Agree on Expectations Train Team and Analyze Requirements Technical and Application Conference Room Pilots Tune, Test, and Train Go Live, Rollout & Support
  • Information Technology Implementation Skills
    • Project, budget, and scope management and reporting
    • Industry, functional, analytical, development life cycle
    • Consensus building and expectation management
    • Vendor negotiation and management
    • Application and report writing aptitude/specific skills
    • Interviewing and meeting management
    • Application integration and data conversion
    • Technology infrastructure, support, and operation
    • Documentation and training
    • Board Room
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools Unless a student becomes certified in a specific package, specific application skills coming out of school are almost irrelevant. The aptitude for quickly learning packages is the most desirable talent, and this can frequently be proven with a simplified application.
  • Using Analytical Systems to “mine” business data for management information
    • Objectives and Observations
    • Methodology and Trends
    • Indicated Skills
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • We are seeing the Increased Demand for Integrated Performance Management Environments Following ERP Implementations Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools TopSight InSight Exception Reporting Transaction Detail HindSight ForeSight Modeling & Forecasting Trend Analysis Understand Analyze Measure Apply
  • Environments Tend to Fall into Three Levels with Different Audiences Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools Planning & Modeling EIS Strategic Orientation Executive Audience Multi-Dimensional Analysis, Ad Hoc Query Production Reporting, Consolidations Tactical Orientation Management Audience Operational Orientation Employee Audience Day to Day Operations Financial and Operational ERP Transaction Data
  • These are Some Leading Tools to Address Various Levels and Audiences Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools This is a very dynamic area and this is by no means an exhaustive list. With Internet and Intranet publishing, the list changes almost daily.
  • Analytic System Skills
    • Financial and Management Accounting
    • Application development life cycle
    • Interviewing and meeting management
    • Consensus building and expectation management
    • Industry measures, research and analysis
    • Reporting and desktop analysis tools
    • Query tools
    • Data modeling
    • Financial analysis and modeling
    • Desktop publishing
    • Project, budget, and scope management and reporting
    • Application integration and data conversion
    • Technology infrastructure, support, and operation
    • Documentation and training
    This is an area where a recent graduate can have a significant impact in the marketplace with specific skills. The art is defining the measures and knowing enough about the industry to recognize trends. Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Changing the role of the financial function from one of score keeping to adding Value to the enterprise
    • Objectives and Observations
    • Methodology and Trends
    • Indicated Skills
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • World Class Financial Functions are Broadening Their Perspective and Changing Their Focus Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools The financial function can generate quite a bit of additional value for the enterprise by shifting their focus. Traditional Focus Precision Internal Control Budgeting Keeping Score Profitability Precision Internal Control Budgeting Keeping Score Profitability Emerging Focus Speed / Relevance Identify & Manage Risk Resource Allocation & Utilization Understanding Performance Business Value
  • The Broadening Focus Requires Discipline Interaction Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools The idea is to address “value leaks” from departmental hand-offs and lack of automation in the end-to-end business process. It will take a new breed of systems savvy accounting professional that is truly cross-functional.
    • Core Financial Processes
    • Budgeting and Planning
    • Close, Consolidation, and Financial Reporting
    • Performance Management
    • Order to Cash
    • Procure to Pay
    • Treasury Management
    Technology Operations Financial General Management
  • Broadening Focus Skills
    • Financial and Management Accounting
    • Business process improvement
    • Interviewing and meeting management
    • Consensus building and expectation management
    • Industry, functional, and analytical
    • Technology dimensions, interactions, and language
    • Project, budget, and scope management and reporting
    • Application and report writing specific skills
    • Application integration and data conversion Industry measures, research and analysis
    • Reporting and desktop analysis tools
    • Query tools
    • Data modeling
    • Financial analysis and modeling
    • Technology infrastructure, support, and operation
    • Documentation and training
    • Board Room
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools These skills really integrate several of the previous areas.
  • Power Tool user and role model
    • Objectives and Observations
    • Methodology and Trends
    • Indicated Skills
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Power Tool User and Role Model Skills
    • Advanced Desktop skills
      • Microsoft Office
      • Modeling
      • Desktop publishing
      • Presentation / Graphics
    • Research Tools
      • Internet
      • Databases
    • ERP Package Functionality
      • Capabilities
      • Inter-relationships
    • Project Management
      • Status Reporting
      • Issue Tracking / Resolution
      • Resource Management
      • Tools
    • Data Communications
      • Operating Systems
      • Networking
      • Interfaces
    • Database Technologies
      • Theory
      • Design
      • Query
    • Programming
      • Systems Design and Development
      • Systems Analysis and Testing
      • Change Management
    • Training and End-user Support
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Summary and Review Seems the accounting profession is in the middle of everything…and our people need to be good at anything. What are we to do?
  • Today’s Discussion Objectives
    • Stimulate a conversation about educational objectives for AIS graduates by investigating marketplace objectives from a practitioners perspective
    • Establish an assumption set for the role of AIS practitioners in the marketplace
    • Outline the skill set implications for the various roles we see for successful practitioners in management consulting and our clients
  • Client and Consulting Roles are Fundamentally Different, we need to Prepare Students for Both In-depth industry and business knowledge, managing technology, identifying opportunities to leverage IT, know when to get help, how to package and sell assistance, and how to stay in charge and manage the help. Matching industry and client needs with technology, very specific and current skills, confidence and presence, how to package and sell assistance, how to stay focused on the problem at hand, willing to give up the reins and go away. Focus on the business, using, and managing Focus on current knowledge and projects
  • Success Indicators
    • Client Environment
    • Data Warehouse
      • Data mining and interpretation
      • Reporting and analysis tools
    • Process improvement
    • Documentation and Policy definition
    • Business case
    • Help Desk and support
    • Patience
    • Implementation skills
      • Application aptitude
      • Adaptability and creativity
      • Change leadership
      • Patient, persistent and positive
    • Project management
    • Consulting Environment
    • Soft skills
      • Flexibility
      • Command presence
      • Entrepreneurial
      • Impatience and sense of urgency
    • Reporting and analysis tools
    • Project management
    • Business industry and functional knowledge
    • Process improvement
    • Business case
    • Implementation skills
    • Technology infrastructure
      • Network, Database, Development
  • An Assumption Set for the Role of the AIS Practitioner in the Marketplace
    • Defining Information Technology Strategy by linking it with the Business strategy
    • Leading a structured approach for Selecting technology
    • Effectively Implementing selected technology
    • Using Analytical Systems to “mine” business data for management information
    • Changing the role of the financial function from one of score keeping to adding Value to the enterprise
    • Power Tool user and role model
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Skills Summary
    • Consulting Skills
      • Connecting
      • Encouraging
      • Questioning
      • Confirming
      • Providing
    • Industry
    • Consensus Building and Change Management
    • Communication
    • Project and Scope Management and Reporting
    • Functional
    • Vendor negotiation and management
    • Business case
    • Technology infrastructure, operations, and support
    • Analytical systems application knowledge
    • ERP aptitude
    • Report writing application knowledge
    • Documentation and training
    • Data modeling
    • Query tools
    • Desktop office automation tools
    • Application integration
    • Research tools
    • Data communications
    Strategy Selection Implement Analytical Value Tools
  • Questions Thank you for the opportunity!