Performance Measurement Crucial For CIOs

by Amit Tripathi    Oct 27, 2004

The role of a CIO has gradually evolved over the years, more so in these days of technology enabling virtually every aspect of business, where the CIO is held both responsible and accountable for delivering return value on technology investments.

But each technology disruption is preceded by a certain amount of business process reengineering to accommodate the processes defined by the application. The million dollar question therefore is how to judge the efficacy of new processes as far as their performance is concerned.

Arun Gupta, senior director, business technology, Pfizer Ltd., elaborating on the approach, said, “A CIO needs to embark on proper documentation of processes that starts with understanding AS-IS processes (existing processes), assessing the new processes for their efficiency, resources used, and overall impact.”

“The documentation process is followed by creation of a transition plan and its execution. But that’s not all. An elaborate mechanism of reviewing the achievements of the processes would make it a complete cycle. The achievements need to be viewed on a realistic basis—judging as to how far have they strayed from what was expected”, he adds.

Gupta stressed on the importance of asking relevant questions at each stage and incorporating suggestions on a regular basis. He said, “Thus process performance management is an ongoing process and a CIO would have to continuously pursue it.”

Citing an example from Pfizer’s tech history, he explained, “We have a travel booking system on our Intranet in which the travel desk looks at the booking information according to various categories of employees and simultaneously the information is sent for approval. The approval requires adherence to various dimensions like the employee department, rank, etc. Historical data showed that there had been violations to this process, so we made new processes for the system to do the same. Needless to say that it didn’t go without resistance, but this way we saved 5 to 10% of money to the company.”

Pfizer spends 1.5% of their revenue on IT and recently as part of their sales force automation Rs. 1.7 crore have been spent in purchasing 220 laptops for the district level sales managers. The company uses a combination of Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and 2003 databases.

Also, after going through a cost benefit analysis (CBA) the company has recently switched over from leased line connectivity to VPN for its 17 regional offices. Informs Gupta, “We would save Rs 30 lakh annually by moving over to VPN connectivity.”

Pfizer uses an inhouse developed customer relationship management (CRM) solution since 2001 as according to Gupta, it serves the company’s business better in comparison to branded CRM solutions.