Economy boost means IT must start delivering true business value

With rising IT budgets, business must prioritise IT projects that deliver the best return on investment, according to analyst Ovum

With spending on IT increasing, businesses must prioritise the IT projects that deliver the best return on investment, according to analyst Ovum.

Speaking at Ovum’s Industry Congress (OIC) in London, Nicole Englebert, director of research and analysis at Ovum, recommended IT leaders prioritise projects that deliver the most return.

"Always decide where you'll place your resources," she said.

Rather than risk ending up with a disjointed architecture that may arise if projects are run incrementally, she urged IT leaders to adopt a strategic approach to objectives.

Department store John Lewis is an example of a business that needed to take a strategic IT focus.

Paul Coby, director of IT at John Lewis, discussed how he realised the company's IT was working against staff. 

"I spent the first week serving behind the counter at John Lewis Bluewater, where I learnt that, for basic credit card transaction on our Epos, you had to make eight separate keystrokes on different parts of the screen," he said.

He also worked at the distribution centre, where he realised that, while each store had a warehouse and inventory system, there was no visibility between the two.

From his experience, Coby put in place a plan to roll out new Epos systems across all John Lewis stores. The retailer also rolled out a new web platform which turned over £1bn in sales last year. Coby pointed out that e-commerce revenue is growing 20% year on year.

John Lewis is also putting in an order management system so that, regardless of where an order is placed, the order will be in the same system. 

"We are putting in a new ERP because we had a siloed supply train," he said.

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