Can IT Really Impact Shareholder Value? A CIO Perspective
CAN IT AS AN ENABLER REALLY
IMPACT SHAREHOLDER VALUE? Evans Munyuki
Chief Information Officer (CIO) - Business & Technology Strategist
This white paper discusses a key question which has become increasingly important to
companies as business seeks to decide whether or not IT has a seat in the boardroom.
Ask some of your team-members or friends to describe Can IT as an
their latest IT project or IT initiative in business terms, and enabler really
you will find that some folks will have to think twice as impact
they attempt to define their IT projects in non- shareholder
technical business terms which focus on business value in a
benefits - terms which could spark the interest of a quantifiable
non-technical venture capitalist, a financier, stock investor, and
or a corporate shareholder of a non-IT holding. convincing
manner? IT - a real enabler of value?
This white paper seeks to bridge this gap between IT and
Business. It is written for IT rainmakers who want to In order to answer that question,
elevate their conversation to C-Suite Executive clients. we must answer two related
This white paper will also provide value to CIOs who seek questions which are:
to enter the boardroom, it will provide value to CIOs who
What are the drivers of
seek to demonstrate greater ‘business’ contribution in the
boardroom, and will provide value to other C-Suite
Executives who seek points-of-view on this topic. What role can IT play to positively
The Golden Question influence these drivers?
Since the Year 2000 Information Technology (IT) dot com In other words, what levers can
bubble burst31, IT has transformed from being the CIOs use to positively
prescriber of business investment, to become a business- influence the link between IT
censored enabler, even reaching the point where some investment and derived
have questioned whether IT matters at all as a shareholder value?
differentiator of company competitiveness in the Our conclusion is that IT can
marketplace1. impact shareholder value, and
Along with this historical backdrop comes the golden CIOs have a key role to play in the
question which many are trying to put their fingers on: boardroom as they leverage IT to
help drive business results.
Table of Contents
The golden question
The challenges with IT projects
Definitions of shareholder value
IBM’s approach to Shareholder Value
Making the link between IT and Shareholder value
Examples of business benefits which IT projects
should seek to provide
Risk and Reward
Examples - IBM
A random walk?
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Can IT as an enabler really impact shareholder value?
THE CHALLENGE WITH IT PROJECTS
History is filled with stories of IT projects which companies have
embarked on, using in-house IT resources, using outside vendors, How long is it taking for us to
or both. get our products to market
and how do we compare to
However, the challenge continues to be, the our competition?
quantification of the business value delivered by
such initiatives. What key projects are we
initiating to help enable
Gartner estimates that two-thirds of all major product innovation?
technology investments do not achieve their
intended result2. Unless CIOs take a very
deliberate approach towards
How can this be? When projects are initiated, do some the end results they want to
companies not have clear IT investment objectives which demonstrate, they can get
clearly link back to shareholder value? sucked into ‘survival’ projects
Do some companies not have clearly documented business which won’t help them get far
cases to guide IT investment decisions and successful beyond keeping-the-lights-on,
completion criteria to help assess attainment of intended thus not demonstrating
results? maximum contribution
towards shareholder value (as
In an argument which triggered a variety of responses, judged by fellow business
Nicholas Carr3 went as far as questioning whether IT even executives).
A further interesting
A further problem which arises with the challenge of observation is the following:
quantifying the business value delivered by IT projects is
that it becomes much easier to justify and fund IT executives are the least
those projects whose business case easily links up satisfied folks in the
with metrics. executive suite19.
But this may not always be the right thing to do - there are This is according to a survey
other IT projects which are key in enabling the by career and recruiting firm
corporation’s Business Strategy but whose benefit can be ExecuNet, which covered
difficult to measure. 2,100 executives.
Projects whose IT contribution can be tough to measure By closely linking IT projects to
include those which address such areas as improved shareholder value, IT
customer satisfaction, improved margin, improved quality, executives can demonstrate
improved customer acquisition, and sometimes, even key business insight which will
increased speed to market. give them equal weight and
ground with their fellow-
Another key challenge with IT projects is that sometimes business-executives.
IT organisations are forced to expend a large
portion of their energy towards projects and It will help demonstrate that
investments which only help to “keep the lights on.” IT’s mindset is more than just
Such projects include fire-fighting projects, projects which “cost center.”
address key areas of system instability, poor system This business insight will also
performance, or technology-refresh projects. help in CIOs’ ability to cross
To add fuel to the fire, these “keep-the-lights-on” projects over into business roles.
end up consuming up a majority of IT budgets, making it In this paper, we take the view
difficult to find funding for those projects which provide that executive directors, CIOs,
competitive differentiation - especially those projects which and managers are all leaders
are conceived in the current (fully booked) financial year. who get work done through
All this is before one starts asking such questions as : How other people. For that reason,
do we make it easy for customers to do business with us? we will use these titles
What are our key customer dissatisfiers, and what key
projects should we initiate to address them?
Our view is that the Chief Sales
DEFINITIONS OF SHAREHOLDER VALUE Officer (CSO) and Chief
Information Officer (CIO) must
Let us agree on the definitions of shareholder value and be tied to the hip on the value
business value. IT can bring to sales
execution, service delivery,
Shareholder value is defined5 as the value of the and product delivery.
company minus the future claims (debts).
A= Annual earnings should be
Some calculate this value as the Net Present Value of all
future cashflows plus the value of the non-operating assets
of the company.
The IBM Institute of Business Value references business
value as the resolution of those issues which have the
greatest impact to the business. As such, The IBM Institute
for Business Value provides strategic insights and
recommendations that address critical business challenges
and help clients capitalize on new opportunities6.
For publicly traded companies, some of the measures of
shareholder value include share price, dividend payout, and up 25% or more in each of the
economic profit. last three years. Annual return
on equity should be 17% or
DRIVERS OF SHAREHOLDER VALUE?
What are the drivers of shareholder value, and what role N= A company should have
can IT play to positively influence these drivers? a new product or service
that's fueling earnings growth.
We will begin by assessing shareholder value from the
perspective of a potential investor in a company’s stock. S= Supply and demand. Shares
outstanding can be large or
Investor’s Business Daily7 (IBD) is a national American small, but trading volume
business and financial daily newspaper that serves over should be big as the stock price
800,000 investors worldwide through a variety of increases.
proprietary products and services, relevant news from the
investor’s perspective, as well as innovative research, L= Leader or laggard? Buy the
investment education, stock ratings and online graphs. leading stock in a leading
IBD has a checklist for investors which outlines the seven industry. A stock's Relative Price
common characteristics all great performing stocks have Strength Rating should be 80 or
before they make their biggest gains. IBD calls this checklist: higher.
I= Institutional sponsorship
Using CAN- SLIM®, IBD promises investors to significantly should be increasing. Invest in
reduce their risk and increase returns through their stocks showing increasing
Investment Research Tool which is a fact-based ownership by mutual funds in
performance checklist to easily evaluate a stock before they recent quarters - in other words
buy. strong interest from fund
managers. IBD's Accumulation
Lets look at what each letter stands for in CAN SLIM®: / Distribution Rating gauges
C= Current earnings per share mutual fund activity in a stock.
should be up 25% or more and in
many cases accelerating in recent M= The market indexes, the
quarters. Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq,
should be in a confirmed up
Quarterly sales should also be up trend since three out of four
25% or more or accelerating over stocks follow the market's
prior quarters. overall trend.
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DRIVERS OF SHAREHOLDER VALUE IN YOUR COMPANY?
What role is IT playing in enabling your management team to impact shareholder value as defined in the
CAN SLIM® checklist?
Even more importantly, what role can IT play, but is currently not playing, to drive
shareholder value in your company?
Professor Laurence Booth8 of the Rotman School of Management at the
University of Toronto asserts the following key points on the drivers of
Quarterly earnings are a key driver of shareholder value – a.k.a. stock market
Economic Value Add - the market values companies that increase the
productive use of their assets by increasing turnover ratios, increasing profit
margins, and as a result increasing profitability.
IBM’S APPROACH TO SHAREHOLDER VALUE a the value of intangible
Economic Value Add (EVA) is the key creator of shareholder value. This assets is getting much
is according to IBM. greater as a proportion of
the total value of a firm,
To create Economic Value Add, you must do four things: 1) Grow and
Sales, 2) Control Costs, 3) Enhance Your Risks Management and 4)
Manage Your Assets. b reputational risk is a key
element of strategic risk
1. Grow Sales
that cannot be hedged
Consistent with IBD and Professor Laurence Booth, IBM emphasizes
sales growth as a key contributor to Economic Value. You must grow
sales9 by investing in opportunities which will give you superior Case studies show examples of
returns. companies which have been
exposed to reputational risk
Embark on new contracts and new projects which will result in sales events, some of which
growth. Clearly, IT has a key enablement role to play here. recovered, and others which
2. Control Costs experienced significant
To control your costs, you must increase your employee’s negative shareholder impact25.
productivity10, outsource low value and non-core areas of your In reviewing those companies
business which other companies can do better and which recovered well, key
cheaper than you (IT, Business Process, Application differentiators were the
Development, etc.). following virtues in the
Reduce your operating expenses, and optimize your management team:
selling, general, and administrative costs. Honesty, Transparency,
Some managers may look at a partial view of costs. Personal involvement of the
Learn to look at the full total-cost-of-ownership CEO in the major risk event,
which evaluates the overall life-span of your assets in and Communication with
order to arrive at a holistic view of your true cost stakeholders.
base. These traits clearly
3. Enhance your risk management demonstrated that they have a
Now more so than ever before, managers need to enhance the financial value.
management of the risk profiles of their organizations because there is
a link between risk and shareholder value. In assessing the impact of
catastrophe on shareholder value24, it is clear that reputational losses What does this mean in the
can be affected by management, and they have an impact on context of shareholder value?
shareholder value which can be positive or negative. The link is tight
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DRIVERS OF SHAREHOLDER VALUE
a Risk management cannot be ignored as it is a driver of shareholder
b It is important for managers to manage operational risk. However,
that is not enough - reputational risk is a key area that managers
must also address as these risk areas are drivers of shareholder
Tied with that conclusion is the topic of compliance. Managers must
be compliant. With international case studies of companies like Enron
(USA), Worldcom (USA), Parmalat (Europe), and LeisureNet (Africa), it
is clear that good ethics, good governance, and compliance with
resultant regulation is very important to boards of directors, and the
CIO as a board member must demonstrate the contribution his
organization can bring to the table.
An interesting topic which directors are now discussing is the cost of
non-compliance. Ironically, even the topic on the cost of compliance
has also come up.
Without digressing on this topic, we will make one key point:
“Compliance is a marathon run over changing terrain. Those
who win know how to conserve effort, reduce cost and
position their companies over the long haul”18.
Companies must establish a rock solid controls posture. Make business
controls a non-negotiable matter as demonstrated by your supporting
processes, IT systems, and your management systems.
Further in this article, we will explore this topic a little more.
Clearly, IT has a role to play in the enforcement of systems and
processes which ensure separation of duties, and compliance with
4. Manage Your Assets
To manage your assets, you must
i sell underperforming assets,
ii utilize idle or underutilized assets,
iii manage your accounts receivables,
iv optimize your resources, and
v manage your inventory.
You must watch how long it is taking you to pay your debts, versus how long
it is taking you to collect cash - including any interest debt you may be
exposed to in the process.
IBM uses tools and methodologies which help customers address these key
drivers of Economic Value Add. And the good news is that, Economic
Value Add is the ultimate contributor to shareholder value.
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DRIVERS OF SHAREHOLDER VALUE
Sustainability means “development that meets the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs.”29
This concept of “sustainability” is derived from the term “sustainable
development” which was covered in the Report of the World
Commission on Environment and Development, 1987 (The “Brundtland
Quoting the King II Report, “In a corporate context, ‘sustainability’
means that each enterprise must balance the need for long-term
viability and prosperity - of the enterprise itself and the societies and
environment upon which it relies for its ability to generate economic
value - with the requirement for short-term competitiveness and
financial gain. Compromising longer-term prospects purely for short-
term benefit is counter-productive. A balance must be struck and
failure to do so will prove potentially irreparable, and have far-
reaching consequences, both for the enterprise and the societies and
environment within which it operates. Social, ethical and environment
management practices provide a strong indicator of any company’s
intent in this respect.”
Many companies are taking sustainability very seriously. For example,
Wesbank (South Africa) publishes a sustainability report which
highlights what the bank is doing around their focus areas in
In addition to previous activity, in 2006, Standard Bank (South Africa)
published a Sustainability and Black Economic Empowerment Report
(sustainability report) which contains non-financial information as at
board approval date (6 March 2007) and financial information for the
year ended 31 December 2006.
A wide variety of companies have embraced sustainability and
indeed publish sustainability reports together with their annual
financial reports, or as separate documents - they include but are not
limited to the following: Santam (South Africa), Sanlam (South Africa),
Eskom (South Africa), ABSA (South Africa), MTN (South Africa), IBM
(USA), Microsoft (USA), Anglo American, Gold Fields (South Afrca), the
list goes on...
Sustainability is a key item on the Shareholder agenda, and IT has a
role to play here.
In addition to several other sustainability initiatives, IBM has taken a
leadership role in introducing tools that can help CIO’s contribution to
their organization’s sustainability. Examples: IBM’s server management
tools allow CIOs to reduce the power consumption of non-critical
servers at nights and on weekends. Another example is IBM’s green
data center initiative which will see high density computing systems
utilizing virtualization technology, along with IBM’s Cool Blue portfolio
of energy efficient power and cooling technologies. These technologies,
in conjunction with the energy efficient design and construction, will
allow IBM to reduce its overall carbon footprint compared to standard
data centers, and lessen the impact to the environment30.
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MAKING THE LINK BETWEEN
SHAREHOLDER VALUE AND IT
Now that we have identified the drivers of shareholder
value, we need to understand the IT’s impact on these
1. Does IT have a link to the drivers of shareholder value?
2. Can “well-run” IT projects empower CIOs with the ability
to impact growth of sales?
3. Can “well-run” IT projects provide CIOs the opportunity
Can “well-run” IT projects
to control costs?
provide CIOs the
4. Can “well-run” IT projects empower CIOs with the ability opportunity to control
to better manage their assets? costs?
Does IT have a link to the drivers of shareholder Yes - IT can indeed help you
value? drive down your cost basis.
Emphasis must be placed on
Yes it does - IT has both a direct and an indirect impact on Total Cost of Ownership, and
the drivers of shareholder value . the role IT plays in helping the
business scale while keeping
We would like to even take this costs in check.
point of view further by stating that
IT can either have a disruptive or a Many companies have taken on
constructive impact on the drivers projects which have helped
of shareholder value. them automate processes and
activities resulting in reduced
Left in the hands of inexperienced cost. These also include paper-
IT leaders, IT can indeed have a eliminating projects,
disruptive impact on the drivers of shareholder value. All productivity-enhancing projects,
you have to do is look at the number of projects whose and process-optimizing projects.
deployment did not go as planned, resulting in negative
product sales impact. As we all know, inhibition of sales is In addition, if you do not
one of the paths to profit erosion. optimize your IT environment,
IT itself can become a holder of
Can “well-run” IT projects empower CIOs with the cost reduction potential. An
ability to impact growth of sales? example is a situation where IT
The level of contribution which IT can make to your holds a farm of non-green,
company's top line will depend on which industry you are energy guzzling, inefficient
in, the level of dependence your company has on IT in servers. Optimization becomes
order to execute sales, supply, & demand processes and necessary because some
perform its core functions. It also depends on where your companies have acquired
company and industry are relative to the IT contribution businesses with disparate IT
maturity curve. systems. Others may have
defined optimized IT strategies
We mostly use the word ‘IT’ tightly - in its real application, it is only later in the purchase cycle.
broader: IT Resource domains, according to IBM, are Other companies may not have
Infrastructure, Applications, Data, Process, Organization taken the best approach to
(people & structure), Network, and Finance & Environment. A optimize the environment and
strategic alignment and optimization of these domains is drive out cost , which includes
critical because they make up the full equation of IT looking at other parts of your
Resources, and they can impact sales growth. business where cost-reduction
benefit may be had.
In March 2006, IBM released a report based on its worldwide
cross-industry survey of more than 750 of the world's top
CEOs and business leaders. Among the key findings of this
survey, CEOs had moved their agenda from cost-cutting to
driving profitable growth28.
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In 2004, IBM released a report based on its worldwide cross-
industry survey of 456 CEOs. Among the findings of this Tools & Methods
survey, 80 percent of CEOs surveyed believe revenue growth
is now their top priority (though continued cost-containment IBM has developed
discipline remains important)27. Shareholder value tools which
are used to conduct enterprise
In the same report, CEOs rated competition and market level financial competitive
dynamics as very high and important external forces, while at assessments and to translate
the same time placing immature and obsolete IT low on the management actions to impact
list of top 10 barriers to change. It is clear that in shareholder value. In
responsiveness is a key issue for CEOs. For leading addition, IBM has purchased
companies, exploiting IT advances to detect critical business licences for a number of
events earlier is a key initiative27. shareholder value tools such
as Thomson ONE Banker, CBV,
When looking at costs, a key indicator to keep in mind is your Bureau van Dijk and Reuters
company’s IT-spend-as-a-percentage-of-revenue, compared Knowledge11 which are used
to your industry average. However caution must be exercised by IBM Business Consultants in
as this comparison must be balanced with your company’s helping clients based on
positioning in your industry (leader? Laggard?), your strategy factual information.
(are you busy entering new markets, acquiring businesses,
It is also important to understand whether the majority of Gartner has developed its 10
your IT spend funds expenditure which allows you “keep the Step guide to achieving the
lights on,” or whether it funds investment which drives new Business Value of IT12.
capability and competitive differentiation of your company for
the marketplace. Gartner’s ten step guide13
includes acknowledging that
Can well-run IT projects empower CIOs with the you have a problem, getting
ability to better manage their assets? the basics of IT measurement
right (at the strategic
Yes - well-run IT projects can empower CIOs and their fellow alignment level, business
directors with the ability to better manage their assets. process impact level,
CIOs can do so with a variety of projects which enable the architecture level, direct
business to better manage, better track, better utilize, and payback, and the business &
better optimize resources. technology risk level).
Realizing that there are no
CIO’s management of assets also involves business continuity more IT projects - there are
and resilience planning. Instead of accumulating disaster business projects and as such,
recovery assets which lie idle with no productivity or utilization IT professionals must learn
value, CIOs can liquidate such assets and leverage shared business basics, and they must
resource bases from suppliers in order to get a much better use language which is
return on assets. understood by C-level
executives. Building consistent
However, the point made in the paragraph above should be frameworks of execution is
very closely tested with the type of business a CIO is in. What key, along with getting the
recovery time objectives does such a business require? Does right external helpers, asking
it truly require shared or dedicated resources? Does it require the right questions, having the
a hot managed service which would be ready to run in case of right governance processes in
an emergency? If a dedicated infrastructure is required, is it place, having clear decision
really necessary for it to be a company owned asset or does it checkpoints (knowing when to
make sense for this to be an asset which is provided by a stop), and sticking with the
company that specializes in Business Continuity - a company process of continuous
which can procure the needed hardware at discounted cost? improvement.
Do you require 100% dedicated infrastructure or are there
elements of the solution which can be shared? There is no
one size solution which fits all companies - CIOs must
evaluate the needs of their business taking their risk profile
into account. CIOs have the opportunity to better manage
their assets resulting in increased shareholder value.
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IT RISK AND REWARD PARTNERSHIPS
A concept which is still relatively rare in the IT industry, yet one which
I would personally like to see more of, is the concept of IT Risk
and Reward. The legal industry has used this concept for years.
In order to drive a direct relationship and link between IT projects and
business results, one of the key concepts we expect see in the
marketplace is concept of Risk/Reward partnerships.
“A Risk-&-Reward partnership is a strategic partnership between a This concept may very well
vendor and a customer - where clients reduce or eliminate their capital breed a new approach to IT
expenditure for “qualifying” IT projects, and instead link their vendor provider selection focusing on
payment structures and the quantity of that payment reward to the creation of greater value for
actual business and technology benefits delivered by the successful
completion of such IT projects. This could be value gained at the ADVANTAGES OF RISK &
completion of the project, or it could be ‘earned-value’ gained as the REWARD PARTNERSHIPS
project moves forward.” Client Perspective:
Much has been said about the necessary migration from IT projects 1. Risk & Reward (R&R)
to “Business” projects. We believe risk & reward partnerships are Partnerships strengthen the
probably the missing link in making this migration complete. level of relationship between
IT consumer and IT provider.
Some customers are starting to zone in to this area of opportunity in I.e. It becomes a true
the evolving courtship & marriage between business and IT. partnership - not just box
While we don’t believe this approach will be appropriate for all IT dropping.
projects, we certainly believe that it will be applicable to high value, 2. R & R Partnerships can
high risk projects. Encourage an environment
Out of the capital expenditure which is approved by the board in the of trust - a ‘we’re in this
AGM (Annual General Meeting), many boards do not require their together’ attitude.
executive directors to bring specific projects for approval at 3. R & R Partnerships can
execution time, however, IT is the exception. significantly help clients to
Many boards require that sizeable IT investment projects enjoy the benefits coming
come for final approval before the contract is signed. out of the recommendations
Why is this so? Because the board generally considers certain IT
investments as risky, and they want to be convinced that Look at the number of
expenditure is tied to business returns - returns which will impact businesses which pay top-dollar
shareholder value. to consultants so the consultants
can give them business
This is one of the reasons why we strongly
recommendations which they
believe the CIO must sit on the board - so
that she is directly linked with all business
imperatives, and is accountable to the board Why do some companies not
for the investments she signs off on. use the advice they so dearly
With the above backdrop in mind, IT Risk &
Reward projects are one of the key methods Is it really because some
that CIOs are starting to use to link IT companies are lacking in
activity with business results. execution?
In the world of IT Service Providers, this Or is it because customers
concept will separate the wheat from the actually need help implementing
chaff. Under-capitalized, understaffed, and the recommendations which
inexperienced IT Service Providers without a proven track record will consultants provide them with?
find it difficult to compete in this space.
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IT RISK AND REWARD PARTNERSHIPS
Is it possible that clients are so busy with day-to-day work activities and allow the provider to
that they find it difficult to carve out resources, people, and time, recover her scoping costs.
which they can devote to the implementation of the consultant-
CONCLUSION ON IT RISK &
Risk reward partnerships can help bridge that gap. They can
If IT Risk & Reward
facilitate an environment where companies can see the value
Partnerships are structured
promised by their IT visionaries.
properly with a strategic view
4. R & R Partnerships facilitate the platform for the necessary in mind, we firmly believe that
commitment to make the initiative a success. they can provide both client
and provider with an
5. R & R Partnerships directly align the interests of the
opportunity to win together.
shareholders (client), with those of the board, and with those of the
IT Service Provider. To reach the finishing line
ADVANTAGES OF RISK & REWARD PARTNERSHIPS
Thus enabling the CIO to go
back into the boardroom with
1. With R & R Partnerships, top performance can mean top
IT-influenced business results
revenue streams and repeat business.
which are welcomed by the
2. R & R Partnerships directly align the interests of the board of directors - results
shareholders (client), with those of the board (client), and with those which are welcomed by the
of the IT Service Provider, thus helping the IT Service provider to shareholders - results which
vest his interests in a deeper understanding of what the client’s will enable the CIO to return to
business is all about, how the client makes money, and how he can the higher price delegations
play a key role in bringing value as measured by Shareholder Value. and the point of authorizing
3. R & R Partnerships can help turn engagements with clients from notable IT capital expenditure
being transactional to strategic enabling providers to gain value without always needing board
from investment into a client’s business. approval.
DISADVANTAGES OF RISK & REWARD PARTNERSHIPS: Obviously, by leveraging IT
Risk & Reward Partnerships,
Provider Perspective: and by leveraging IT Financing
1. Places heavier emphasis of sound business financials on service such as that provided by IBM
providers (project capital expenditure), which could rule out feasibility Global Financing, CIOs can
of engagement for emerging IT providers. avoid capital expenditure
2. Can expose the provider to excessive financial risk with very altogether and turn IT
little “skin in the game” from the client side. The client can prioritize initiatives into an
“business-as-usual,” or prioritize “other projects” by devoting resources to operational expense.
those, thus further increasing the risk of project failure
and the financial impact which would primarily be bourne
by the provider, and not the client.
3. Up-front agreement on the problem statement,
boundaries, payment structures, and reward systems are
critical. As such, poorly scoped projects can pose
threats of failure. Comprehensive upfront scoping
becomes a key activity which may very well have to be a
“paid engagement” with contractual terms that
include exit clauses which allow the client to choose
to pursue the project at zero-scoping-cost,
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OTHER RISKS WHICH THE CORPORATION MUST MANAGE
Linking information technology to shareholder value
There are other risks which managers must manage. These include
financial risk, legal risk, and overall project risk. In today’s world of tight
corporate governance, managers must assess their business as a whole
and leverage IT, process, and organization to ensure they have the right
business controls posture in place to demonstrate an adequate level of
responsibility to shareholders.
To this end, we will take a moment to explain a few of the key
compliance requirements which shareholders expect directors to
govern, and for managers to manage. The key point is that, depending
on which industry a company is in, these are key regulatory
requirements. As such, the IT organisation has a key role to play
in enabling these regulatory requirements which are key on
the Shareholder’s Agenda.
Compliance is barely something to ignore. CIOs report that 8 to 10
percent of their budgets are spent on compliance efforts18.
King II & King III
King II is the abbreviated name for the King Report on Corporate
Governance for South Africa published in 2002 in South Africa. It IT Relevance:
followed a 1994 report commonly known as King I15. (At the time of the
writing of this white paper, a draft version of King III was about to be CIOs have a key role to play in
submitted for Public Comment). helping companies become
compliant with various elements of
Companies listed on South Africa's JSE Securities Exchange have to King II. Of key note are the areas of
comply with King II which itself requires compliance with Global business continuity and disaster
Reporting Initiative guidelines. King II uses a comply-or-explain recovery, technical risk, and
approach whereas SOX uses a comply-or-else approach. compliance risk.
King II outlines requirements on corporate Governance covering the CIOs can help demonstrate an
broad spectrum of : Directors and their responsibilities, Risk integrated approach to good
Management, Internal Audit, Integrated Sustainability Reporting, governance in the interests of the
Accounting and Auditing, and Compliance & Enforcement16. wide range of company
In the area of Risk Management, King II states that Risk assessment stakeholders.
should address the company’s exposure to the following:
physical and operational risks; human resource risks; technical King III is clear in its recognition of
risks; business continuity and disaster recovery; credit and IT as an integral part of business
market risks; compliance risks. today. Risk management and
UPDATE: King III was since released. King III uses an ‘apply-or-explain company strategy are areas now
approach. King III has taken a very strong stance on the Board’s affected more than just financials.
responsibility for the Governance of Information Technology, the That means the profile composition
integration of IT Strategy with Business Strategy, appointment of an IT of company Boards of Directors (in
Steering Committee, appointment of a CIO by the CEO, Qualifications of their mandate to drive company
a CIO, monitoring and approvals of significant IT Investments, strategy) can no longer just be
protection of intellectual capital contained in IT systems, compliance, Accountants. It now extends to
the fact that IT should form an integral part of the company’s Risk roles which affect shareholder value
Management Committee, and the role of the Risk and Audit committees such as IT, Marketing, Sales, and
in assisting IT carry out its responsibilities. Risk.
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OTHER RISKS WHICH THE CORPORATION MUST MANAGE
Linking information technology to shareholder value
Basel II17 is the second of the Basel Accords, which are
recommendations on banking laws and regulations issued by the Basel
Committee on Banking Supervision.
The purpose of Basel II is to create an international standard
that banking regulators can use when creating regulations
about how much capital banks need to put aside to guard
against the types of financial and operational risks banks face.
Such an international standard can help protect the international
financial system from the types of problems that might arise should a
major bank or a series of banks collapse.
In practice, Basel II attempts to accomplish this by setting up rigorous
risk and capital management requirements designed to ensure that a
bank holds capital reserves appropriate to the risk the bank exposes
itself to through its lending and investment practices.
Generally speaking, these rules mean that the greater risk to which the
bank is exposed, the greater the amount of capital the bank needs to
hold to safeguard its solvency and overall economic stability.
The final version (Basel II) aims at:
Ensuring that capital allocation is more risk sensitive;
Separating operational risk from credit risk, and quantifying
Attempting to align economic and regulatory capital more
closely to reduce the scope for regulatory arbitrage.
While the final accord has largely addressed the regulatory arbitrage
issue, there are still areas where regulatory capital requirements will
diverge from the economic.
Basel II has largely left unchanged the question of how to actually
define bank capital, which diverges from accounting equity in important
respects. The Basel I definition, as modified up to the present, remains
CIOs have a role to play in helping companies become compliant with
Basel II. This is both from an systems compliance perspective, and also
in establishing contingencies which help demonstrate significant (and
real) reduction in risk, which in turn reduces capital reserves
requirements, thus freeing up the capital for engagement in business
activities which produce higher returns.
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OTHER RISKS WHICH THE CORPORATION MUST MANAGE
Linking information technology to shareholder value
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) was designed principally to bolster pubic
confidence in corporate governance and financial reporting of public companies by
rebuilding public trust in corporations and capital markets.34
Sarbanes Oxley largely affects American headquartered companies, companies which
do business in the USA, or subsidiaries of such.
Impact of SOX on the corporate IT department32
The SEC identifies the COSO framework by name as a methodology for achieving
compliance. The COSO framework defines five areas, which when implemented, can
help support the requirements as set forth in the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation. These
five areas and their impacts for the IT Department are as follows:
Risk Assessment. Before the necessary controls are implemented, IT management
must assess and understand the areas of risk affecting the completeness and validity
of the financial reports. They must examine how the company's systems are being
used and the current level and accuracy of existing documentation. The areas of risk
drive the definition of the other four components of the COSO framework.
Control Environment. An environment in which the employees take ownership for
the success of their projects will encourage them to escalate issues and concerns, and
feel that their time and efforts contribute to the success of the organization. This is
the foundation on which the IT organization will thrive. Employees should cross train
with design, implementation, quality assurance and deployment teams to better
understand the entire technology lifecycle.
Control Activities. Design, implementation and quality assurance testing teams
should be independent. ERP and CRM systems that collect data, but feed into manual
spreadsheets are prone to human error. The organization will need to document
usage rules and create an audit trail for each system that contributes financial
information. Further, written policies should define the specifications, business
requirements and other documentation expected for each project.
Monitoring. Auditing processes and schedules should be developed to address the
high-risk areas within the IT organization. IT personnel should perform frequent
internal audits. In addition, personnel from outside the IT organization should
perform audits on a schedule that is appropriate to the level of risk. Management
should clearly understand and be held responsible for the outcome of these audits.
Information and Communication. Without timely, accurate information, it will be
difficult for IT management to proactively identify and address areas of risk. They will
be unable to react to issues as they occur. IT management must demonstrate to
company management an understanding of what needs to be done to comply with
Sarbanes-Oxley and how to get there.
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IBM provides data driven
IBM LINKS TO SHAREHOLDER VALUE services that help you
Enclosed below are the value proposition in some of prioritize your critical data
IBM’s offerings which help CIOs demonstrate greater and ensure the ongoing
contribution to shareholder value in the boardroom. availability of your
infrastructure. These include
Through its key businesses, IBM provides a continuum of
value proposition enablers spanning the full range of IT: i.e.
Software, Hardware, Services, and Financing. This
continuum of value becomes clear as we explore some of
IBM’s offerings, and their links to shareholder value:
Risk Management - Business Continuity & Resilience
In today's interconnected world, virtually every aspect of a
company's operations is vulnerable to disruption. So
continuity has become a concern that extends far beyond IT.
And with the number of threats to business increasing, the
worst-case scenario "insurance policy" approach to business
continuity has become woefully inadequate23.
IBM high availability
services, and IBM data
But how do you determine the continuity and recovery continuity services.
requirements of your business? How do you identify and
integrate critical business and IT priorities into a High availability services help
comprehensive continuity program? How do you identify the you avoid downtime and
gaps between what you have and what you need? Where do recovery costs by planning,
you start? creating and running an
infrastructure that supports
IBM business continuity and resiliency services can help, from continuous access to
planning and design through implementation and business processes, IT
management. environments and networks.
IBM provides business driven services that help you Data continuity services help
develop a business continuity plan aligned to your risk you prioritize critical data in
tolerance and geared toward your business needs. These light of regulatory
include IBM business continuity services and IBM regulatory requirements and business
compliance services. needs and implement a
Business continuity services help you identify and fill gaps in retention and retrieval plan
your current continuity strategy with a robust continuity for virtually anywhere,
program aligned to business needs, budgets and best anytime information access
Regulatory compliance services enable you to obtain
objective, industry-specific guidance about your compliance
risks while anticipating and responding to the changing
We have made significant investment into Disaster Recovery &
Business continuity facilities which include data center
space, work area recovery space, call center recovery space,
dealer room space, and a host of redundant infrastructure.
We understand regulatory compliance and the ways our
clients can leverage process, IT, people, data, applications,
and business models in order to maximize compliance at
cost levels which the business can tolerate.
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IBM LINKS TO SHAREHOLDER VALUE
To complete the Risk Management picture from an
infrastructure perspective, IBM provides Event Driven
Services that help you address common gaps in your
disaster plans so you can ensure that employees, processes
and systems recover quickly.
These services are: IBM disaster recovery services, and IBM
crisis management services.
Disaster recovery services help clients address common gaps
in disaster planning, with the goal of responding more
effectively to a disruptive event and minimizing the costs
and time associated with recovery.
Crisis management services help clients minimize the impact
of unforeseen events, from the minor to the catastrophic,
with crisis management services to support your employees,
communications and infrastructure.
Business Continuity and Resilience
Services have an indirect link with the drivers of shareholder
value. They help CIOs enhance their risk management and
helps them plan for business interruptions, which if
unmanaged could result in lost sales, lost revenue, and
could even strip a company of its key competitive assets.
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IBM LINKS TO SHAREHOLDER VALUE Outsourcing
Some of IBM’s offerings, and how they link to shareholder
outsourcing focuses on IT
value systems, Business
Infrastructure Outsourcing & Hosting Services20 Transformation Outsourcing
Infrastructure outsourcing & hosting is the management of focuses on business processes.
your applications and IT systems. IBM's outsourcing
offerings scope includes desktop outsourcing, applications
outsourcing, data center outsourcing, managed hosting,
managed storage, network outsourcing, output
management, and workforce mobility services. You
strategically partner with IBM to manage and operate your
applications and IT systems, under an agreement which
benefits both the client and IBM. The outsourcing
agreement may include the transfer of IT employees and IT
assets to IBM. IBM provides service level assurances to
make sure the client sees quality of service and can measure
it20. IBM can imbed innovation and business transformation
into outsourcing deals, enabling customers to derive great
According to IBM’s integrated
benefit and value from engagements.
offering suite, these processes
Infrastructure outsourcing include:
Services have a direct link with the drivers of shareholder 1 Finance and Administration
value. They help CIOs reduce IT costs, and helps them (F&A),
better manage their assets. Through access to greater pools 2 Customer Relationship
of skilled resources, CIOs can improve IT’s responsiveness Management (CRM)
to business request, and support faster speed to market for
3 Supply Chain Management
new products and services. Often, for the same or lower (SCM) and Procurement
costs, customers can enjoy better services levels. Many
firms are also outsourcing services to focus on their core 4 Human Resources (HR)
business and be more competitive which helps drive Within each process area, IBM
shareholder value. offers the following 3 Business
Selective Managed Services
Unlike traditional full-scope outsourcing deals, selective Business Process
managed services target specific IT services for Outsourcing (BPO) is
primarily an offshore or
management by an external provider, usually elements of
nearshore model with a high
non-core business functions. They are perfect for labor arbitrage component. It
companies looking to outsource on a smaller scale21. These is effectively a lift-and-shift
smaller scope deals are perceived as less risky than the approach with minimal process
traditional full-scope, mega deals. Companies don't have to transformation with gains to
hand over all their IT services to a single provider, and they be had from a shared service
can retain control of those services they want to. model, or leveraging IBM’s
mature methods - even if the
Managed Services have a direct services are provided onsite22.
link with the drivers of shareholder value. They help CIOs
The business benefits of this
reduce IT costs, and helps them better manage their assets. model are: reducing a client's
Through access to greater pools of skilled resources, CIOs costs and investment in
can improve IT’s responsiveness to business request, business processes while
and support faster speed to market for new products and improving efficiency and
services. For the same or lower costs, clients can enjoy customer satisfaction.
better services levels.
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4. IBM Human Resources
IBM LINKS TO SHAREHOLDER VALUE outsourcing provides cost-
effective, outsourced end-
Business Process Services (BPS) is the outsourcing and to-end human resource
optimization of specific solutions such as accounts receivable administrative services and
or mortgage processing. Highly automated process delivery employee service delivery.
leads to standardized scale driven plays22.
Where a client can get maximum value is in the area of
Business Transformation Outsourcing (BTO). BTO
delivers improved business results through continuous
strategic change and the operation and transformation of the
client's business processes, applications and infrastructure –
measured against business outcomes22.
Let us take a closer look at each of the four process areas:
1 - IBM Finance and Administration Outsourcing
provides enhanced decision support and processes, along with IBM can facilitate the
transactional processing that uses our local and/or global transformation for your
delivery capability. Finance and Administration are employee-to-company
transformed using the collective innovation, world-class skills, experience through
and cost savings necessary to provide a flexible and scalable technology, such as the role-
network of people, applications and infrastructure to support based portal and enhanced
the varying needs of organizations22.
call center, and processes
2 - IBM Customer Relationship Management (CRM) including learning, payroll
Response rates. Cycle times. Order tracking. Integrated and benefits. Improved
customer experiences. Customer care is increasingly a point of employee satisfaction and
differentiation for many organizations. While fundamental reduced turnover while
industry change is pressuring organizations to reduce costs,
customers continue to expect responsive service and unique reducing service delivery
experiences22. cost in an integrated,
intuitive delivery process is
Taking a holistic customer view, IBM Customer Relationship the objective
Management outsourcing focuses on more efficient business
operations from providing design for the multi-channel
customer contact process to improving agent productivity,
from systems and data improvement to enabling the sales and
marketing organization. The resulting differentiated customer
care can reduce costs through increased self-service while
increasing revenue opportunities with improved cross-sell,
up-sell, and customer retention. Our industry specific solutions
address specific customer care needs22.
3 - IBM Procurement outsourcing offers organizations a
variety of outsourcing solutions, from customized "start from
scratch" solutions to multiple levels of Leveraged Procurement
Services - solutions that leverage intellectual capital and
result-driven experiences. This solution helps eliminate the
paperwork shuffle and enables streamlined processes to
deliver efficient operations, savings and end-user satisfaction.
For some organizations procurement spend can be as much as
50% of annual revenue, having a significant impact on the
bottom line. IBM can analyze procurement spend and leverage
our global supplier relationships to improve strategic sourcing,
reduce off-contract or maverick purchasing to leverage
reduced prices at lower cost per order22.
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IBM LINKS TO SHAREHOLDER VALUE
IT is more than just a cost reduction target - it can be
a revenue growth enabler, a risk mitigation enabler, a
productivity enabler, and a speed-to-market enabler.
IBM understands IT, and with its IBM Global Financing
offering offers fresh ideas for financial solutions. The IBM
Global Financing offering helps customers make smarter
financial decisions: We can help you conserve cash, lower your
total cost of ownership, and support your overall financial
objectives33. While at this, we can provide solutions
customized to your needs, while taking advantage of the fact
that we have created a simpler financing experience from
acquisition through disposition.
Financing is more than just a
great way to acquire IT without a big upfront investment.
As part of your overall IT management strategy, financing
can also help keep your technologies current, reduce costs,
minimize risk, and preserve your ability to make flexible
equipment decisions throughout the entire technology life
IBM offers a comprehensive solution - i.e design, build, run
and finance the entire solution.
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A RANDOM WALK DOWN WALL STREET?
Is the walk down Wall Street a random walk? How should
managers behave given the various market dynamics
impacting the behaviour and results we see on the stock
In his modern classic on stock market investing, ‘A Random
Walk down Wall Street,’ Burton Malkiel14 contends that, though
history has shown various examples where ‘the madness of
crowds’ led to company over-valuation on the stock market, the
markets are efficient, and when we see inefficiencies occur in
company valuation, the market does make its due
corrections in due time resulting in proper recognition
of manager’s performance as custodians for
We make this point to highlight one key point: Managers should
stay true to their effort of leveraging IT as an enabler capable of
impacting shareholder value.
Company share price will be exposed to various market
dynamics, some of which will be out of manager’s control and
influence, however IT leaders must remain diligent at
their effort to demonstrate IT’s value in the boardroom,
and their contribution to shareholder value.
Version 2 Copyright Evans Munyuki Page 19
KNOW YOUR BUSINESS - KNOW YOUR INDUSTRY!
In order to gain and keep their status as business executives
(not just IT-focused-leaders), CIOs must become business
advisors who understand how to leverage IT to bring business
21 Do my executive
peers perceive me as “IT-only”
In order to gain a convincing executive presence and trust from or do they view me as a
their business leading executive peers, CIOs must demonstrate business peer who has the
a strong understanding of their business’ industry, the advantage of understanding
competitive forces pressuring the business, customer demands, IT’s value proposition to our
and the areas of inefficiencies in the business. business?
A good place to begin is the IBM CEO Study of 2008, and the 22 What business drivers
IBM study which outlines the CIO implications from the CEO do I need to be aware of and
study. what proposals am I making
to leverage IT in enabling the
We have compiled a list of questions which the CIO (and IT
business to respond to these
Leadership) should ask and know.
1 What sector is my business in?
23 What compliance
2 What industry is my business in?
pressures is my organisation
3 What business are we in? exposed to?
4 Who is our end customer?
24 What is the implication
5 What are customers saying about our business? of these compliance pressures
6 How do those comments compare with what our to my business?
25 What (if anything) do
7 If in the banking industry, do we have a single view of the following mean to me?:
the customer? Sarbanes Oxley, King II,
8 If in a financial services group, is it easy for our banking Bassel II, PFMS, IFRS,
customers to buy insurance from us? National Credit Act, etc.
9 If in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods industry, do we 26 What risks have we
have an optimized, efficient, cost controlled supply chain? given thought to, and what
10 Who are my internal-customers as CIO? are our plans to mitigate and
11 Who are my external-customers? respond to those risks events?
12 Who are my stakeholders - people who I normally don’t 27 What is our Business
interact with but stand to gain or lose from the services Continuity Management
I provide? posture?
13 What are all these people saying about the service which 28 In the event of a
my organisation provides? business interruption, do we
14 What matters to my customers? have clear plans to recover our
15 What is keeping my customer awake at night and what Data Centers, clear plans to
can I do to make this pain go away? recover our Work Area and
16 What is our positioning in the industry? Are we a leader Call Centers at alternate,
or a laggard? available, accessible sites?
17 What is our business strategy?
18 What is my CEO saying about our market positioning?
19 What is my CEO saying about entrance into new markets?
20 What are the industry trends and how will we respond
Version 2 Copyright Evans Munyuki Page 20
KNOW YOUR BUSINESS - KNOW YOUR INDUSTRY!
29 Does every employee in the organisation know what to
do in the event of a business interruption?
30 What kind of investments are we making into the
provision of Business Continuity Management ?
31 What kinds of returns are we getting for those 46 Has my company
investments? been clear on what it does
32 Is that the best use of our shareholder’s monies or are best and am I clear to my
there smarter and less expensive ways to achieve the organisation on our mandate
same end result? to go and make this happen?
33 Who are my IT strategic partners - companies and 47 Do customers perceive
individuals who are committed to help me solve my my company as being easy to
problems? do business with, and what
34 Do they have skin in the game? role is my IT organisation
35 Have I taken the time to solicit the value proposition playing to better enable this?
from my IT vendors in order to form objective points-of- 48 Has my company
view on who my Strategic Partners are? simplified its offerings, and am
36 Are my IT vendor choices congruent and in alignment I playing a key role in reducing
with my strategic partnership proclamations? the speed to market for
37 Have I taken the time to sit my strategic partners in one bringing new offerings to
room to explain my company’s strategy? market?
38 Have I taken the time to make sure my strategic 49 Am I close enough to
partners understand what my mandates are? the voice of the customer?
39 Who (as demonstrated by their behavior, input, and 50 What is my IT maturity
results) is losing sleep with me? Who has made it their and contribution to the
personal mission to make sure I am successful? To make business relative to other
sure my company gains competitive edge which will set companies in my industry?
us apart in our industry?
51 What contribution am
40 What is my contribution to my company’s Shareholder
I making in helping simplify
the business? Simplifying our
41 What am I doing to help grow sales? processes, our applications,
42 What am I doing to help better manage my our architecture, our
organisation’s assets? infrastructure, our
43 What am I doing to reduce total cost of ownership for organisational constructs, our
my corporations IT assets? ordering processes, our supply
44 When my managers prioritize projects, do they have chain, our customer
Shareholder Value in mind? interfaces?
45 When my managers prioritize projects, do they have a 52 What objective
clear view of what our customers are saying? What my analysis do we do at what
CEO is saying? What my business executive peers are intervals in order to gain an
saying? objective insight on the
Version 2 Copyright Evans Munyuki Page 21
We began this paper by asking “Can IT as an enabler really
impact shareholder value?”
Yes, IT can impact shareholder value. It is very important
for business and technology leaders to understand and leverage
IT as a lever to influence the drivers of shareholder value.
It is also important for IT leaders to know the types of
risks that business is trying to manage, and for them to
understand their role in the same.
A focus on affecting business results is how CIOs will be able to
demonstrate that they deserve a seat in the boardroom, and for
CIOs who already have it, this is how they will be able to
demonstrate that they are true business executives, not just
glorified techno geeks. :-)
About the author:
At the time of the initial writing of this white paper (2007), Evans Munyuki was the Go-to-market Executive for
IBM’s Integrated Technology Services Business in South Africa. He was with IBM in South Africa and the USA for
over 15 years.
(2010 Update) Evans Munyuki is the Group Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the Kelly Group, a Services Group
of companies with 11 Companies and 23,000+ employees. Evans is a Non-Exec Director on the IoD Board of Directors
in South Africa. He is a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD), and has held several business & management
certifications including certification as an IoD Certified Director, an IBM Certified Executive Project Manager, and
an IBM Certified ACT Consultant. Evans holds 3 degrees in Electronics Engineering, Project Management, Business
Administration, and a minor in Computer Information Systems. You can contact Evans at email@example.com or
+27 (0) 83 288 4391.
Version 2 Copyright Evans Munyuki Page 22
9 Kees Klokman, Michael Zwiefler, IBM Global Technology Services EMEA
10 Kees Klokman, Michael Zwiefler, IBM Global Technology Services EMEA
14 Reference a Random Walk Down Wallstreet
16 www. c l i f f e d e k k e r. c o m
18 “10 Things you need to know about compliance.” An IBM Whitepaper; July 2007; Julie Gable
24 "The Impact of Catastrophes on Shareholder Value." Fory F. Knight & Deborah J. Pretty. The Oxford Executive Research
25 Reputation & Value, Dr Deborah J Pretty, Oxford Metrica, June 2001
26 Dr Deborah J Pretty, Oxford Metrica
29 King Report on Corporate Governance for South Africa - 2002, Institute of Directors Publication
Version 2 Copyright Evans Munyuki Page 23