IT Cost Transformation

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1 IT Cost Transformation Getting the Biggest Business Impact From Your IT Organization For many IT departments, costs have been climbing steadily as demand and complexity grow. The rise in complexity has also led to longer development times, making it difficult for IT departments to satisfy business expectations in a timely and cost-effective manner. Traditional approaches to IT cost management tend to opt for baby steps, such as deferring spending or killing discretionary projects. While relying on such tactical measures may contain IT expenditures in the short term, it does little to reduce the major costs that stem from inefficient work practices. Out-of-control IT costs call for a more radical approach. A.T. Kearney s IT Cost Transformation reduces IT spending while improving effectiveness and business support. This approach considers the big picture including governance and demand and supply management to determine what can be streamlined and improved to drive the most substantial and sustainable cost savings (see figure 1). Out-of-control IT costs call for a more radical approach, one that considers the big picture. Figure 1 Forces in managing IT cost transformation Demand management IT strategy and planning IT standardization IT steering IT control Maximizing existing assets Reducing required units Rationalizing specifications Target Savings and cost avoidance Strategy and architecture Core vs. non-core services Level of competitive advantage Degree of scale advantage Supply management Cross-functional and cross-unit coordination Exploiting IT purchasing power Transparency and process efficiency Improving on economies of scale Challenging existing suppliers Identifying competitive suppliers Outsourcing Offshoring or bestshoring Technologies Source: A.T. Kearney analysis

2 An IT cost transformation addresses four main areas: Strategy Aligns IT governance to ensure that decision making serves local and overall needs Streamlines the IT organization structure by benchmarking span of control against peers Demand management Optimizes demand management and includes the business in budget allocation decisions Builds an investment road map that aligns spending with business priorities Supply management Explores changes to the IT sourcing model, revisits make-versus-buy decisions to convert fixed cost into variable cost, and renegotiates IT contracts to ensure they align with business needs Assesses workforce productivity and how responsibilities are distributed across teams Savings can usually be found in application management on the demand side and in external providers on the supply side. Architecture Leverages the applications portfolio across business units, countries, and functions Exploits infrastructure rationalization opportunities for example, standardizes and consolidates hardware assets such as servers, storage, and desktop devices and increases their utilization Say Goodbye to the Cost Escalation Trap Where are the biggest cost savings opportunities? Usually savings can be found in application management on the demand side and in external providers on the supply side. Application management. On the demand side, the challenge is to find the right balance between leveraging existing standards and achieving business impact. When IT is charged with delivering everything that every customer wants, the result is more applications and interfaces, a higher degree of customization, and more dedicated servers (more convenient in terms of maintenance). Complexity increases, it takes longer to go to market, and flexibility in developing new products diminishes. The first step to effective application management is to work on the deproliferation of the application portfolio: Use the functionality of existing applications to make others redundant. If standard software is available, the old application landscape can be replaced with new software. This can be done step by step, application for application, or in a real greenfield approach: Press the reset button and implement a completely new application landscape from scratch. This is a clear trend in some industries such as telecommunications and banking. Centralizing services (shared services) or even outsourcing are other ways offered by a simplified, standardized application landscape. Figure 2 on the following page shows a typical shared services pathway in which systems are first consolidated (standardized) and then centralized following initial crossbusiness unit planning for system integration projects centralization without prior standardization makes little sense as it is difficult to capture synergies. The last step is selective outsourcing of operations and development following an evaluation of risks and competitive advantage. External providers. On the supply side, the high cost of staffing can be reduced by using an optimal mix of staff from onshore and offshore locations for development and maintenance projects. Less value-adding tasks, such as infrastructure management, are good candidates for outsourcing to IT service providers that can provide the service on a higher quality level and at lower cost due to economies of scale. Moreover, this frees up IT departments to shift their attention to activities that better support the business.

3 Figure 2 Step-by-step consolidation High Standardization Low Low Step 1 Integrated planning IT planning Procurement Operations ERP CRM BI and DWH Billing Billing CRM As is: Individual, non-standard Variant Variant Step 2 Centralization and shared services Operations IT planning ERP Procurement BI and DWH Billing CRM Centralization without standardization is not feasible Centralization and shared services High Step 3 Outsourcing Future target quadrant Press the reset button and implement a completely new application landscape from scratch. Note: ERP is enterprise resource planning; BI is business intelligence; DWH is data warehousing; CRM is customer relationship management. Source: A.T. Kearney analysis The right skill mix is particularly important in development and maintenance projects, as is the right ratio of offshore and onshore skills. In terms of the skill mix, in large companies with historically homegrown IT departments, seniority of the development staff is typically much higher than required. This results in more senior staffing which drives up IT realization costs. In regard to the ratio of offshore and onshore skills, figure 3 illustrates an IT workforce benchmarking analysis, which identifies a higher onsite share across roles and ranks as the most important root cause for higher development costs. Figure 3 ing total workforce management Project roles Onshore Nearshore Offshore Project managers Business analysts ICT architects System engineers Test engineers System analysts Transition and implementation managers Sources: Project results; A.T. Kearney analysis

4 Case Examples A.T. Kearney has worked with numerous companies on their IT cost transformation initiatives. In each of the following examples the companies realized significant and sustainable cost improvements without sacrificing IT innovation or impairing service quality. Implement BSS We helped a telecom operator select and implement a new business support system (BSS) stack, with a plan to migrate its customer base ranging from consumers to large enterprises for development and maintenance projects to a modern off-the-shelf solution. In determining business requirements and differentiating factors, the most important decision criteria were standardization, implementation and migration speed, and configuring existing functionality (rather than developing new functionality). The new solution offered a wide range of marketing options for communicating with clients and innovative ways to bundle products with a few mouse clicks. Ultimately, the company unlocked cost and business-performance efficiencies throughout the organization, not just within IT. Ultimately, the company unlocked cost and businessperformance efficiencies throughout the organization, not just within IT. Simplify and standardize An advertising sales company was struggling with excessive IT costs caused by a complex set of customized applications to meet specific client needs. The in-house IT function, which was organized as a cost center and managed separately from the market-facing business units, performed most development, delivery, and maintenance. We began by drastically simplifying the application landscape turning more than 60 legacy systems into one core operations platform with only a few modular additions and standardizing the software. The new software, with its agile, web-based architecture, meets current requirements and addresses future business needs with minimal development and configuration. Simplification and standardization had another benefit: Outsourcing was now possible, allowing the IT group to concentrate on delivering value to the business units through more efficient processing and innovative advertising solutions. The ongoing IT transformation program is expected to reduce IT costs by more than 50 percent over the course of three years. Move to SAP s LifeScience A pharmaceutical company was saddled with an outdated ERP system that was not designed to support its growth. Major challenges included too few end-to-end business processes support applications, a dearth of automated controls, and poor analytical functionality. The company decided to replace the system with SAP s LifeScience solution and to outsource the related infrastructure and support. We worked with the IT team to define a global template that retained 90 percent of the company s standard functionality, while providing new functionality to support the core business. The new system reduced time-to-market for customized functionality; it handles changing regulations and business requirements.

5 Answering the Cost-versus-Value Question IT leaders are charged with helping the business understand the value of implementing less complex, more streamlined and standardized IT, both to reduce time-to-market and lower overall cost. Four principles will help guide the cost-versus-value discussion: Optimize the IT architecture. Invest in shared functionality; if possible, aggressively drive a greenfield approach and decommission old applications. Limit customization. Push software standardization as far as possible and challenge all customization requests, including long-term customization projects (for example, complex software upgrades). Build an agile and cost-efficient IT delivery system. Centralize and outsource noncore activities while keeping value-driving skills in-house. Invest in innovation. Reinvest cost savings in innovation and automation to make IT delivery even more efficient. Achieving a mutual understanding with the business about ways to control IT costs will ultimately yield an IT function that not only runs efficiently but also adds business value year after year. For more information, please contact: Marcus Eul, partner, Düsseldorf Konrad Meyer, principal, Frankfurt Max Bocchini, principal, London

6 A.T. Kearney is a global team of forward-thinking partners that delivers immediate impact and growing advantage for its clients. We are passionate problem solvers who excel in collaborating across borders to co-create and realize elegantly simple, practical, and sustainable results. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors on the most mission-critical issues to the world s leading organizations across all major industries and service sectors. A.T. Kearney has 58 offices located in major business centers across 40 countries. Americas Atlanta Bogotá Calgary Chicago Dallas Detroit Houston Mexico City New York San Francisco São Paulo Toronto Washington, D.C. Asia Pacific Bangkok Beijing Hong Kong Jakarta Kuala Lumpur Melbourne Mumbai New Delhi Seoul Shanghai Singapore Sydney Tokyo Europe Amsterdam Berlin Brussels Bucharest Budapest Copenhagen Düsseldorf Frankfurt Helsinki Istanbul Kiev Lisbon Ljubljana London Madrid Milan Moscow Munich Oslo Paris Prague Rome Stockholm Stuttgart Vienna Warsaw Zurich Middle East and Africa Abu Dhabi Dubai Johannesburg Manama Riyadh For more information, permission to reprint or translate this work, and all other correspondence, please A.T. Kearney Korea LLC is a separate and independent legal entity operating under the A.T. Kearney name in Korea. 2013, A.T. Kearney, Inc. All rights reserved.

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