At a leading US insurance and financial services company, the IT and business units had reached a standoff. At issue: IT planning and spending. The IT department had traditionally employed a complex system to decide on IT projects—with little dialogue with business teams. The insurance company realized it had to take action after learning that business unit executives did not understand IT planning and decision-making—and that many believed IT was not delivering adequate value, services, and products. The company resolved to implement more transparent, clear-cut processes for IT decision- making and governance.
PwC assisted with the design and implementation of an IT planning and spending process to accommodate both IT and business units. After an assessment, we recommended that the insurance company implement a segmentation model for IT planning as well as address other concerns. The segmentation model comprised three spending categories: Discretionary (innovations in products and services, for instance); semi-discretionary (compliance, lifecycle management, preventive maintenance, and corrective fixes, among others); and non-discretionary (chiefly day-to-day IT management and operations). Our team also guided the insurer in tailoring a governance model and in training stakeholders on the new processes and governance.
Impact on client's business
The insurance company adopted the segmentation model for expense analysis, governance, and planning, with an initial focus on semi-discretionary and non- discretionary budgets. The solution allows the insurer to take a strategic approach to IT planning and spending, prioritizing projects across its portfolio with a transparent view of budgets. Business unit leaders are more engaged in IT decision-making, and discussions among IT and business units are more productive. The insurer has also improved its time-accounting system. The solution has resulted in a standardized governance process that allows the insurer to prescribe how—and by whom—decisions are made.