Attaché Software , a provider of intelligent business systems for small-to-medium sized enterprises (SME), has launched the Business Improvement Guide for IT governance.
The Business Improvement Guide provides businesses and their directors with more than 700 ways of effectively using and monitoring information technology (IT) within their organisation. A key highlight of the Guide is its embrace of international standards for governance of IT.
The 700 tactics within the Business Improvement Guide are divided into seven strategic areas of business including debtors reduction, stock reduction, expense reduction, sales increase, fraud reduction, carbon emission reduction and payroll efficiency.
Each strategy is comprised of specific tactics with a wealth of information on business improvement strategies for area such as staff education, customer relationship management (CRM), systems automation, payment systems and business intelligence dashboards to name a few.
According to Mike Rich, managing director, Attaché Software and co-author of the Guide, “SME Directors should continually evaluate, direct and monitor their current and future use of IT, focusing on fundamental business objectives such as maintaining competitive advantage. As a result, the Guide enables directors to assign responsibility for specific business aspects to managers, while accountability for the organisation’s effective use of IT remains with the directors.”
Recent research by Infonomics confirms that while most organisations are dependant on IT for day-to-day operations and for strategic development, a staggering 80% of respondents in both large and SME environments said that the market does not provide enough relevant and accessible guidance to help them understand and govern their business use of information technology.
Mark Toomey, founder and managing director of Infonomics, an Australian company which provides services to inform, assess and improve the way organisations govern their use of IT, says, “The Business Improvement Guide is impressive as it aligns to the guidance in the ISO 38500 Standard for Governance of IT which is designed to help those at the top improve business performance and control the risk associated with IT. This can have a tremendous positive impact but costs little, because it is focused on behaviour. The Guide is a highly significant step towards ensuring the efficient, effective and acceptable use of IT within organisations today.
“Authoritative research concludes improved governance of IT could lift Australia’s Gross National Product (GNP) by 1.6% to 3.1%, and the return on investment (ROI) for IT projects could increase 135% to 240%,” said Toomey.
Rich believes that businesses in the $1 million to $50 million annual turnover space will benefit most from the Business Improvement Guide.
“SME directors typically lack confidence in IT, don’t consider it as part of business strategy and often abdicate responsibility to people who aren’t qualified for the task. This behaviour is a recipe for disaster which ISO 38500 and the Guide aim to change, empowering directors to deal with IT on their terms.”
Governance isn’t usually associated with innovation but Attaché Software has not only managed to embrace the international standard for governance of IT, but turned it into an innovative company philosophy that is paying big dividends for the organisation.
According to Rich, “The IT industry is so focused on the supply side (technical features) rather than the demand side (business benefits) that customers have become disconnected with technology. As result, they miss out on the objective of the Standard - effective, efficient and acceptable use of IT within their organisation. This is where the Guide can help customers and IT suppliers alike.”
“With SME bank lending also under the spotlight, the potential extra cash generated by factors like improved debtors, stock and expense control, plus more reliable, accurate and timely financial reporting, benefits both the customer and their bank relationship as it helps lower the credit risk.
“It is also an opportunity for accounting firms to pro-actively assist their clients to embrace the standards for governance of IT and introduce them to things like the Guide, especially those with annual revenue over $1 million. We don’t want the past bad habits of the big boys going down to the next generation,” Rich added.