On the heels of the first shoot with the City of Cape Town on the future of municipalities, Dennis did a follow on shoot with a closer examination of their SAP project.

During the second shoot, Dennis and City of Cape Town CIO Andre Stelzner commandeer a spot at Mastering SAP Technologies to talk about how the City of Cape Town achieved ROI in 36 months.

At a time when ERP project failure continue to hit the newswires with regularity, Andre’s insights bear a close look. The first key? Getting the business stakeholders across departments in the same room with engineers. As Andre put it:

This was an opportunity to get people of the business who are involved in related activities talking to each other for the first time. For the first time, you had engineers and accountants discussing a business process and the handovers and why the handovers are necessary, and how to optimize them. It was this wonderful coming together of various disciplines talking at a process level rather than at a industry silo level, which we’ve been accustomed to doing forever before that.

Because Cape Town is ultimately accountable to its citizens, ROI only works if those tax payers see a result. Andre’s team had to measure ROI and back it up to citizens who might question a huge technology investment:

A financial return was something that we had to show in order to justify the investment and potentially future investments, because in the context of the city of Cape Town, people are saying, “How can you spend all that money on computers when people don’t have water, when people don’t have houses.” You start having to show through spending this money on computers, as it was termed, you actually enable the organization to deliver on those social and economic benefits that are so desperately needed. We went out and identified the value creating opportunities and we tracked them like anybody else, through a ROI study.

But a CIO’s work is never done. During the final segment of the shoot, Andre and Den talk about the next phase: moving from inward-facing to customer-facing, pulling in new data through new touchpoints. Worthy challenges indeed.

Show Notes

:58 Cape Town – a sizable city of 3.7 million people

1:14 Using SAP to drive organizational transformation now a teenager, so we’re still doing very well.

2:24 “A wonderful coming together of various disciplines”

3:27  Using SAP as the blueprint and tackling turf wars

4:00 Going with standard SAP where possible – 90 percent vanilla in the back office

5:01 Rethinking ROI – defining success in terms of public accountability

6:02 How can ERP bring about significant change over a short period?

7:12 Not every ERP project has good ROI – Cape Town’s secrets

8:35 Moving from inwardly-focused to citizen-facing