A startup service is attempting to bridge the communications gap between finance directors and IT chiefs by making technical operations more easily understandable and justifiable to the accounts department and other board members.
Called ClarITeam, the one-year-old firm provides FDs with a console that provides a birds-eye view of how IT systems are operating compared to business requirements. In that way, the firm hopes to end the mutual incomprehension, if not all-out war, between the two departments.
ClarITeam uses a software matrix that assesses 10 or 20 elements of an IT system and how it interfaces with the business process or multiple business processes. Profit and loss or other criteria can then be laid over the process and presented through an easy-to-use graphical interface that can be drilled down on to yield more technical detail. That enables dialogue between FD and IT director, or other dialogues between IT and supplier, for example, ClarITeam argues.
"Its like the Berlin Wall coming down: they stop hitting each other when they can talk to each other," said Nicolas Kourim, chief executive of ClarITeam.
Quality-of-service issues are becoming more important to IT departments as the board calls for more auditing of IT spend.
"Sixty percent of our initial prospects are IT directors because they are being called up on to turn themselves into a service," Kourim said. "IT will become so crucial to a certain number of businesses that it has become critical for management to understand."
ClarITeam has just opened offices in London and a European service centre in Watford. The firm has been running in France for six months where it has won contracts including Crédit Commercial de France. Customers typically pay for multi-year service consulting contracts.
However, one IT director said the service could cause more problems than it solves, comparing it to a previous generation of software packages that were intended to provide business leaders with a digital dashboard of how the company is operating.
"It sounds like its designed to answer the bean-counters demands for transparency," he said. "In my experience of the old enterprise information systems, a little learning is a dangerous thing and the board starts thinking it knows everything there is to know about the network."