What is your top enterprise-technology priority for 2011?
Our top priority is to continue to automate and integrate current manual processes and integrate all departments into a singular whole. We have been behind the “eight ball” in certain areas, and automation is our top priority this year.
Which enterprise technology has provided you with the most value to date over the past 2 years?
The implementation of a GPS-based time and tracking system for our service and delivery fleet. Eliminated paper tracking, and we now receive real-time, accurate location and time-on-site information for our team of 30 service technicians. That time and service information is fed back to our accounting and billing systems, allowing us to automatically generate customer invoicing the day of the service.
Which enterprise technology do you feel has the most potential to improve your organization over the next two years?
No new technology, simply working to improve the integration of the technology that we currently use. We are by no means where we want to be, but [we] have made significant strides to eliminate multiple points of data entry and manual processes.
What is your top priority when deciding to buy enterprise technology?
First and foremost is the technology’s ability to minimize or eliminate paper and human intervention on the front end so that we can focus exclusively on managing the information and not “doing” the information. Second is the technology’s flexibility to change over time as our needs and objectives change.
How has your budget changed for enterprise technology this year?
Our budget remains relatively unchanged as we made our significant investment last year. Our budget this year is focused on integration and systems improvement.
What organizational data should be in the cloud?
In my opinion, any data that has an implication on the performance of more than one department/division or impacts multiple job functions should be on the cloud for seamless access by those most impacted. Examples includes sales and marketing, vendor and customer management, and departmental financial performance information.
Who makes the purchasing decisions for enterprise technology in your organization?
We make collaborative decisions involving the president, the chief operating officer and myself.
What is the most important thing CFOs should know about enterprise technology?
It is only as good as the organizations commitment to fully implementing and optimizing it, regardless of the technology. I see far too many organizations talk a good talk but fail to walk the walk, and they receive the benefits only to the extent to which they commit to investing in implementation. Far too many technology initiatives rot on the vine because management thinks that by simply buying something it will magically change the organization. The old adage of “garbage in, garbage out” applies to any form of enterprise technology.