IT Balanced Scorecards -
Suncorp’s journey to a contemporary model.
Author: Ian Ashley
IT Metrics & Reporting
Growing the business in an environment of increasing competition and a changing marketplace
challenges commercial organisations to focus on further reducing operating costs – “doing more
with less” - as a means to sustain shareholder value.
Restructures, transformations, mergers, acquisitions, disposals and off-shoring have become the
norm, and place intense focus on non-revenue earning divisions within the corporation to cut costs
and more strictly qualify new initiatives in terms of benefits realisation. The big-spending Y2K era
has intensified business focus on IT costs, and IT departments who continue to be measured largely
in financial terms are constantly “under the gun”.
Three years ago, Suncorp was restructuring for the 4
time since the 1996 merger of Suncorp
Building Society, Metway Bank and QIDC and the resulting transform ation process was again
focusing on reducing operating costs, particularly with the acquisition of GIO under way.
The problem for IT was that its performance was largely measured in financial terms and even
though it was already operating below industry average cost, the Business goals remained sharply
focused on share price and the pressure to further reduce costs was a perpetual situation. For IT, the
measures on performance were largely focused on:
• IT cost as % of group Operating Expenses;
• IT cost as % of Revenue
• Operating Expenses Variance to budget
• FTE numbers Variance to budget
Although IT maintained that System Availability and Security were also important, these aspects of
IT performance were “just expected” by the business.
Additionally, business assessment of IT delivery performance was based on perception of project
delivery, and unfortunately, what sticks in the mind of the Business are the projects that don’t go so
well - the 10% of the projects iceberg that sits above the water.
• What IT saw as high value had become a commodity to the business;
• What IT didn’t want to be seen as (a cost centre) was trapped in the headlights.
IT had to change the way it was perceived and the way it was assessed - it had to develop more
ways to show value to the business and take the focus off costs.
IT Balanced Scorecards – Suncorp’s journey to a contemporary model Page 1
Author: Ian Ashley. IT Metrics & Reporting, Suncorp Limited.