March 30, 2009, 10:58 AM —
Before companies make any cuts during a downturn, using IT to help strategize which reductions will be effective is one way CIOs can prove their worth.
"Make a direct effort to drive your company out of the recession," says Anna Frazzetto, vice president of technology solutions at professional services firm Harvey Nash. "It can really turn around the perception of a CIO within an organization."
In the past year, Avnet has watched sales and profits waver each quarter as the market for enterprise IT equipment and electronic components got jumpy. When the mandate came down to lop off $150 million from the business, one area the company wanted to explore for potential cuts was automobile expenses, including mileage reimbursements for its road-warrior sales team.
Using SAP's Business Warehouse and Business Objects tools, human resources and accounting worked with IT to create reports that helped them understand travel expenses by employee, geographic region, month and type of expenditure. Analyzing this information led to adjustments in Avnet policies that so far have saved 30 percent from mileage and other auto reimbursements, Phillips says.
For example, car allowance levels are now based on usage and job categories, he explains. The company got "an appreciation for how our business intelligence systems can be used to help create actionable plans with bottom-line savings."