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Making a Case for Information Technologies

Fortnightly Magazine - March 1 1995

evaluate cost-benefit analyses by forecasting available cash, and then comparing GIS projects to other investments over comparable periods of time.

Most executives understand that customer satisfaction will eventually displace regulation as the main focus of the electric and gas industries. Companies unable to satisfy customer needs effectively may no longer be in business. More than ever, the oft-quoted statement, "the best defense against regulators is outrageously satisfied customers," rings true. Cost-benefit analyses for GIS or related technologies should focus on benefits to customers, regulators, and the utility itself.

In today's utility environment, roughly nine out of every 10 GIS projects require detailed cost-benefit analyses. The remaining project requires considerably less formal analysis and typically enjoys an extraordinarily high level of support from executive management or has a single specific financial driver that's clear and unquestionably positive. The strategic and financial benefits of IT projects (em integration of corporate data, improved information access, reduced labor costs, improved marketing capabilities, improved customer responsiveness, and better decisionmaking capabilities (em are the dynamic, driving forces that capture funding and guarantee success. In today's fiscal environment, no AM/FM/GIS project gets off the ground until its benefits are made clear. Nor will it be sustained without evidence. t

Glenn E. Montgomery is co-chairman and CEO of Englewood, CO-based Convergent Group, a holding company whose affiliates include UGC Consulting, EDS Corporation, Graphic Data Systems Corporation, and others. UGC Consulting provides cost-benefit analysis, GIS project design, and systems integration services to hundreds of utility clients across North America. Montgomery earned an MS and a BA from Indiana University.

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