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TechEd takeaway: ROI is no longer good enough

by Dave Hannon

October 25, 2010

By Dave Hannon
@Daveatwispubs

It’s becoming increasingly clear that IT’s role is getting more strategic in many companies. No longer is it enough for a software system to simply pay for itself by reducing internal costs and redundancies. No, the CEOs of today want to see information systems driving business forward and hitting the top line.

In a recent piece of research focused on what CEOs want from their CIOs, Gartner found that “CEOs will be far more interested in IT project business cases that directly drive cash measures. To properly align IT's contribution to the most pressing of current business concerns, CIOs should ensure that among the projects they are pursuing, the contribution to cash generation and cash flow acceleration is visible.”

If you think that’s a pipe dream, think again. We saw plenty of examples of this trend at last week’s SAP TechEd conference in Las Vegas, where there was a lot of talk about mobile, CRM and customer-facing IT strategies aimed at increasing sales and business opportunities.

Examples included:

  • Boeing talked about its work to integrate a customer-facing maintenance program with its SAP back-end.  
  • SAP said earlier versions of CRM software didn’t provide the depth of customer detail that salespeople have on their clients. CRM needs to be more “social” than it is today.  
  • Sybase demoed its Mobile Sales for CRM and said it’s coming soon for the BlackBerry.
  • Sybase said its next iPhone ver sion of Mobile Sales for CRM will allow for the creation of sales orders.
  • General Mills talked about how its uses CRM to help educate decision-makers at its end customers.
  • Sybase presenters talked about how the U.S. Census used 140,000 handheld devices to expedite its data processing in the field (and wondered what happened to tall those devices?)

How about you? Were you at TechEd and, if so, did you see other examples of IT strategies aimed at growing revenue? Post them here.

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