Operational Reviews

IT OPERATIONAL REVIEWS DEFINED
An IT operational review is an in-depth and objective review of an entire organisation or a specific segment of that organisation. It can be used to identify and address existing concerns within your company such as communication issues between departments, problems with customer relations, operating procedures, lack of profitability issues, and other factors that affect the stability of the business.
Operational reviews allow the organisation members to evaluate how well they are performing, given that they perform appropriately according to the procedures set by them, allocating their resources properly, and performing such tasks within time frame set and using cost-effective measures. More importantly, it also shows your company how well it is prepared to meet future challenges.
Simply put, the goals of an operational review are to increase revenue, improve market share, and reduce cost.

THE BENEFITS OF AN IT OPERATIONAL REVIEW
The main objective of IT operational reviews is to help organisations like yours learn how to deal with and address issues, instead of simply reacting to the challenges brought about by growth and change.
In such review, the information provided is practical from both a financial and operational perspective. Using these data, the management can then come up with recommendations, which are not only realistic, but more importantly, can help the organisation achieve its goals. The review recognises the extent to which your internal controls actually work, and enables you to identify and understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

To be more specific, let’s list down the ways wherein an effective operational review can contribute to the success of the organisation.

The review process can:
– assess compliance within your own organisational objectives, policies and procedures;
– evaluate specific company operations independently and objectively;
– give an impartial assessment regarding the effectiveness of an organisation’s control systems;
– identify the appropriate standards for quantifying achievement of organisational objectives;
– evaluate the reliability and value of the company?s management data and reports;
– pinpoint problem areas and their underlying causes;
– give rise to opportunities that may increase profit, augment revenue, and reduce costs without sacrificing the quality of the product or service.
Thus, each operational review conducted is unique, and can be holistic or specific to the activities of one department.

Our Operational Efficiencies cover the entire spectrum:

  • What to buy
  • Optimising what you’ve already bought e.g. underutilised servers, duplicate processes, poorly managed bandwidths
  • Making your team comfortable with the changes
  • Instilling Best Practices

UNCOVER WAYS TO DRIVE YOUR PROFITS UP, THROUGH OPERATIONAL REVIEWS

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Carrying out an Operational Review


Operational Reviews


Operational Efficiency Initiatives


Operational Review Defined

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Spreadsheet Woes – Ill-Equipped for an Agile Business Environment

These days, crucial business decisions have to be made in a split second. However, the quality of these decisions hinges quite often on timely, insightful information and relevant business reporting.

How effective is your business reporting solution in providing you with the information you need at the time you need it?

Chances are, like 75% of small and medium businesses, your company is using spreadsheets. True, spreadsheets are the most common go-to solutions for on-the-fly forecasting, but they may not be your best option for presenting information that require consolidation and in-depth analysis and involve a lot of number crunching, especially with critical data at stake.

Furthermore, spreadsheet-based reports are rarely produced in a timely manner. In today?s fast evolving business environment where flexibility, mobility, and timeliness are the order of the day, this simply won’t do.

Let’s take a look at the particular areas where spreadsheets fall short when it comes to providing dynamic and sound financial reports:

Collaboration

With rapidly changing market conditions, organisations have to conduct budgeting, forecasting, and planning more often. Hectic schedules and geographical distances aren’t a hindrance though, because technologies like the Internet, advanced telecommunications and mobile devices can put instantaneous collaboration at everyone?s fingertips.

But collaborative activities in a dynamic setting can only succeed if all participating individuals are given secure, real time and simultaneous access to the same relevant information. This way, every change made is automatically consolidated and projected unto the bigger picture for everyone to digest.

Alas, spreadsheets aren’t built for this.

Cost Efficiency

Whether we’re in a recession or not, cost efficiency has to be taken into consideration. Are spreadsheets really the cost-effective solution?

Think ?time is money?. With the length of time needed to prepare data, establish controls, consolidate reports and distribute copies, you’ll realise how expensive spreadsheets actually are.

The ability to innovate in a changing economic environment and limited resources – a valuable derivative of agile practices – can give your company a very significant advantage. But dedicating so much time on spreadsheet management can strip your organisation of room for innovation.

Quality of Reports

Business empires rise and fall on the power of relevant information. At the end of the day, top management should assess their sources of key performance reports, planning tools and budgeting applications using these parameters:

  • Does your financial reporting system give you the right information right when you need it?
  • Do the reports allow you to look beyond the numbers to spot trends or forecast changes in the market?
  • Do they furnish enough significant data for you to make informed decisions in good time?

Spreadsheets weren’t designed to analyse data on the enterprise level. As a result, spreadsheet reports often take far too long to prepare and more importantly, may lack the dimension and depth that are crucial in decision making.

Data Reliability

We’re all familiar with the risks associated with spreadsheets. This error-prone UDA can provide inaccurate information simply because of a broken link, an incomplete range, a deleted number, or an incorrect formula. In an active business scenario where data manipulation has to be done under constant time pressure, the risk probabilities escalate.

As they always say, ?If anything can go wrong, it will?. With spreadsheets, a lot of things could go wrong. Is this the kind of tool you?d like to work with when making fast, crucial decisions? If you’re still using spreadsheets, then you?d best forget about dynamic reports and rolling forecasts.

Inability to adapt to personnel turnover

A key challenge in maintaining the spreadsheet system is picking up where another left off. A user would find it difficult to debug, revise, or analyse a spreadsheet system he developed himself and the process becomes doubly complicated if or when another person takes over.

Starting from scratch is painfully counterproductive, so that a newcomer has to spend hours figuring out the original entries in the spreadsheet and the reports it yields.

While no one is indispensable in any organisation, it’s pretty much accurate to say that if a spreadsheet ?developer? leaves, it could momentarily halt the production of key finance reports. In a fast changing business landscape, such failure to monitor performance at critical times could sound the death knell for your company.

More Spreadsheet Blogs


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Top 10 Disadvantages of Spreadsheets


Disadvantages of Spreadsheets – obstacles to compliance in the Healthcare Industry


How Internal Auditors can win the War against Spreadsheet Fraud


Spreadsheet Reporting – No Room in your company in an age of Business Intelligence


Still looking for a Way to Consolidate Excel Spreadsheets?


Disadvantages of Spreadsheets


Spreadsheet woes – ill equipped for an Agile Business Environment


Spreadsheet Fraud


Spreadsheet Woes – Limited features for easy adoption of a control framework


Spreadsheet woes – Burden in SOX Compliance and other Regulations


Spreadsheet Risk Issues


Server Application Solutions – Don’t let Spreadsheets hold your Business back


Why Spreadsheets can send the pillars of Solvency II crashing down

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Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS): An Overview

Energy management is crucial to most businesses in the UK. This is primarily because energy usage substantially affects all organizations, whether large or small. The good news is that, energy costs can be controlled through improved energy efficiency. And this is exactly why Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) came into being ? to promote competitiveness among businesses.

Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme is the realisation of the UK Government’s ambition towards achieving the maximum potential of cost-effective energy in the economy. ESOS aims to stimulate innovation and growth, cut emissions and support a sustainable energy system.

ESOS at a Glance – Legal Perspective

The EU Energy Efficiency Directive took a major step forward on November 14, 2012 and headed towards establishing a framework to promote energy efficiency across various economic sectors. To interpret Article 8 of the Directive, the government has given birth to ESOS; requiring large enterprises to undergo mandatory energy audits and energy management systems by December 5, 2015 and at least every 4 years thereafter.

Large enterprises include UK companies that have more than 250 employees or those businesses whose annual turnover exceeds ?50 million and whose statement of financial position totals more than ?43 million. With this, over 7000 of the biggest companies in Britain will need to comply with ESOS as an approach to review their total energy use in buildings, business operations, transport and industrial processes.

Generally, ESOS is both an obligation and an opportunity. It is an obligation for the indicated target companies since they need to submit to additional regimes; focus on audit evidences; act in accordance to group structures and compliance; and observe limited penalties and note retention periods. Moreover, it is also an opportunity for companies to strive for more savings on energy projects; attempt to standardise their potential market; and effectively lower debt and legal costs.

ESOS Audits ? Looking Beyond

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), average first audit costs would be estimated at about ?17,000 and subsequent ones at around ?10,000. As expected, these audits will result in energy saving recommendations, of which companies need not proceed for a follow up; and substantially improve businesses in their energy management issues. DECC further states that every business that complies with ESOS could save an average of ?56,400 each year from an initial investment of ?17,000 only.

Currently, up to 6,000 UK businesses are already subject to existing CRC Carbon Reduction Scheme, Mandatory Carbon Reporting, Climate Change Levy and other compliance. This signifies that ESOS may overlap with prevailing energy efficiency legislation and may put additional pressure on energy administration. While this is true, however, ESOS holds extensive benefits. Although the scheme can be viewed as another costly compliance to environmental standards, ESOS goes straight to the bottom line and provides the organisation with competitive advantage. If large businesses act now and comply with it, they will be able to enjoy maximised payback in the long run.

Indeed, Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme is already here. It is mandatory with minimal investment. And all you have to do is act quickly, implement new improvements and earn more.

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How Volvo Dublin achieved Zero Landfill Status

The sprawling New River Valley Volvo plant in Dublin, Virginia slashed its electricity bill by 25% in a single year when it set its mind to this in 2009. It went on to become the first carbon-neutral factory in 2012 after replacing fossil energy with renewable power. Further efforts rewarded it with zero-landfill status in 2013. ecoVaro decided to investigate how it achieved this latest success.

Volvo Dublin?s anti-landfill project began when it identified, measured and evaluated all liquid and solid waste sources within the plant (i.e. before these left the works). This quantified data provided its environmental project team with a base from which to explore options for reusing, recycling and composting the discards.

Several decisions followed immediately. Volvo instructed its component suppliers to stop using cardboard boxes and foam rubber / Styrofoam as packaging, in favour of reusable shipping containers. This represented a collaborative saving that benefited both parties although this was just a forerunner of what followed.

Next, Volvo?s New River Valley truck assembly plant turned its attention to the paint shop. It developed methods to trap, reconstitute and reuse solvents that flushed paint lines, and recycle paint sludge to fire a cement kiln. The plant cafeteria did not escape attention either. The environment team made sure that all utensils, cups, containers and food waste generated were compostable at a facility on site.

The results of these simple, and in hindsight obvious decisions were remarkable. Every year since then Volvo has generated energy savings equivalent to 9,348 oil barrels or if you prefer 14,509 megawatts of electricity. Just imagine the benefits if every manufacturing facility did something similar everywhere around the world.

By 2012, the New River Valley Volvo Plant became the first U.S. facility to receive ISO 50001 energy-management status under a government-administered process. Further technology enhancements followed. These included solar hot water boilers and infrared heating throughout the 1.6 million square foot (148,644 square meter) plant, building automation systems that kept energy costs down, and listening to employees who were brim-full with good ideas.

The Volvo experience is by no means unique although it may have been ahead of the curve. General Motors has more than 106 landfill-free installations and Ford plans to reduce waste per vehicle by 40% between 2010 and 2016. These projects all began by measuring energy footprints throughout the process. ecoVaro provides a facility for you to do this too.

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