Financial systems are the measure of business. Coupled with information technology Z/Yen values financial and information systems because they are designed to control risk and reward, e.g. systems can control risk by ensuring processes are followed or by providing management information, and systems can enhance reward through delivering improved economy, efficiency, effectiveness or competitive advantage. As the leading risk/reward professional practice, Z/Yen devotes a substantial portion of its work to the effective use of financial systems.
Key themes are emerging in business information systems and financial systems. Financial systems are now required to be more integrated with organisation's operational systems. Forward-thinking managers today are committed to the development of information systems, often seeing automated systems as the basic standard of good practice. Workflow and wide-networking type systems, such as Lotus Notes or Netscape tend to blur the boundaries between financial systems, operational systems and organisation systems. Organisational processes are often embodied in its systems - if the systems die, the organisation largely ceases to function. However, business systems projects appear to be inherently risky. Recent studies show 80% of business systems projects running materially late, and roughly 50% of projects costing at least double their original budgets - only 9% come in on time and on budget.
Z/Yen’s risk/reward methodology is of particular use when beginning to plan major business systems projects, such as the specification, selection and implementation of financial systems. In order to align risk and reward, Z/Yen people use strategic planning, project management, systems design, CASE and contract management methodologies. In practice, these tools vary from assignment to assignment, but the core Z/Yen methodology remains constant at each planning stage, linking business strategy to information systems strategy to ensure appropriate, effective systems.
Z/Yen invests substantial effort in ongoing research in the world-wide financial and business systems marketplace ranging from the higher end (examples include SAP, Oracle, QSP, Ross, J.D.Edwards, Coda, Peoplesoft) through the mid range (examples include Dynamics, Sun, OpenAccount, Platinum, Scala). Z/Yen is often asked to contribute its knowledge in this area to leading publications, for example we were recently asked to judge the Accountancy Age Financial Software of the Year award.
Z/Yen's clients vary from pragmatic, minimalist users to sophisticated, leading-edge technology players, in industries ranging from not-for-profit to government to commercial organisations in, to name a few areas, banking, insurance, R&D, retail, petrochemicals, media, distribution, hardware design, software and even IT outsourcing. The unifying feature of Z/Yen's work with business systems is helping our clients to focus on achieving a proper balance between costs and benefits, between safe components and the latest technology, and between the suppliers' interests and the client's own needs.
Z/Yen's risk/reward approach is applicable to planning (evaluation and selection), implementation (project management) and evaluation (post project review). Z/Yen's risk/reward approach puts financial systems projects in their proper perspective by looking at the widest possible picture - the business strategy, the technology, the leading edge possibilities, the commercial relationships, the constraints of time and money - in order to provide clients with financial systems which control risk and enhance reward.