In the second part of our 2-part interview series with Miranda Alldritt, President, Copperleaf Americas, we discuss how the Copperleaf™ Value Framework can be used to evaluate different types of investments—beyond physical infrastructure. In fact, if we look to the ISO 55001 standard, an asset is defined very broadly as an “item, thing or entity that has potential or actual value to an organization.” The same asset management principles can therefore be applied to hardware and software assets. In this article, we will focus on how the Copperleaf Value Framework can be used to value portfolios of IT investments.
Q: How has the Copperleaf Value Framework evolved over time?
“As customers and the market have matured in Asset Investment Planning and Management, the demands from customers in terms of what they want to be able to value have also matured. Five years ago, the focus was almost solely on risk-based decision making, which was naturally the priority for utilities with critical and aging infrastructure.
We have seen these utilities evolve from a risk-based focus to a more holistic view of asset management. They now look at a much wider spectrum of value—from hard financial benefits to societal and environmental benefits.
We have seen these utilities evolve from a risk-based focus to a more holistic view of asset management. They now look at a much wider spectrum of value—from hard financial benefits to societal and environmental benefits. This evolution has driven the need for more sophisticated calculations and a more flexible framework which includes a summary view for executives and more user-friendly user interface tools.”
Q: How did we first begin using the Copperleaf Product Suite to value IT portfolios?
“IT departments within utilities have very similar challenges to their asset management counterparts. They need to manage a pipeline of candidate projects, and determine the optimal portfolio of projects to pursue—in a budget- and resource-constrained environment. Since the general principles of creating a value framework can be easily applied to different lines of business, we extended the same strategies to the IT environment. We now have clients like the B.C. Government using the Copperleaf Product Suite and the Copperleaf Value Framework to optimize IT capital investment portfolios exclusively, and other clients like Manitoba Hydro that have a corporate Value Framework that spans the entire organization, including electrical generation, transmission, distribution, gas distribution, IT, fleet, facilities, and human resources.”
Q: Which Copperleaf clients are currently using the Copperleaf solution for IT?
The Copperleaf clients currently using the Copperleaf solution for IT are:
Q: What are some of the value measures being used to evaluate IT projects?
“I like to explain value measures as the things we use in the Copperleaf Suite to measure different types of value. For IT projects, there are some common value measures that can be used to assess value, such as investment cost, financial benefits, IT capacity risk, security risk, license risk, innovation premium, business continuity risk, etc.
If your company’s IT system isn’t available, what impact will that have on employees to do their jobs? What efficiencies (time and money savings) can you obtain by upgrading your technology?... These are important questions to examine.
For example, if your company’s IT system isn’t available, what impact will that have on employees to do their jobs? What efficiencies (time and money savings) can you obtain by upgrading your technology? How can you optimize customer experience and maximize value across different business functions by collecting and using your data in a more holistic way? These are all important questions to examine with our customers.”
Q: Do utilities typically evaluate both software and hardware assets together in one capital portfolio, or is the spend evaluated independently from critical infrastructure? Is this trending in one direction or another?
“A little of both. The trend is for organizations to want to have a comprehensive view of what they’re doing in IT which allows for more consistency and efficiency in decision making. Hardware spend tends to be transactional and sustainment-based, such as applied to desktop refresh programs and programmatic type of investments. Software spend incorporates big system initiatives like outage management upgrades. Usually the spend is from the same budget as critical infrastructure since the two are so intertwined with technology really forming a core part of the delivery of the business solution rather than a standalone initiative.”
Q: Which other industries can benefit from a value framework? Any ideas about what’s next on the horizon?
“The Copperleaf Value Framework applies to any company that needs to make informed decisions. Because there are so many similarities and common issues around safety, environment, and reliability for industries with large infrastructure, the Framework expands most naturally to industries like oil and gas, mining, transportation, pulp and paper, telecommunications, and of course, IT across a wide range of industries.”
The Copperleaf Suite provides dynamic Enterprise Portfolio Management specifically suited to the needs of organizations managing large numbers of physical assets. It uses the Copperleaf Value Framework which is configured to measure the key things that deliver benefit to the organization. To learn more about Enterprise Portfolio Management and how it can help you effectively make cross-enterprise IT investment decisions, download our white paper on this topic.
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