Anna Puzone, Zetta Solutions: keep information management simple


“Our biggest message to CFOs is to strive for simplicity,” says Anna Puzone, head of enterprise performance management at information management company Zetta Business Solutions. The two year old firm is part of IS Partners (established in 2001), which implements Microsoft-centered solutions. “Zetta was born out of the need for a client centric approach to technology solutions. Our approach is advisory in nature, as we seek to offer solutions in a simple, cost effective and impactful manner”

Our chat to Anna is a breath of fresh air compared to many conversations with 'IT nerds'. What particularly stands out about Zetta's approach is their attitude to their clients; they listen, rather than just trying to make a sale. "We don't arrive with a silver bullet," says Anna, who mostly works with mid-size and large companies. "We like to solve business problems. What I love about it is the exposure to different industries, technologies and people. No conversation is the same because no problem is the same."

Zetta is based in Johannesburg and Cape Town and focusses on the key information constructs including Master Data Management (MDM), Business Intelligence (BI), Big Data and CPM Solutions. Around CPM specifically, Zetta advices CFO's and seeks to create efficient and effective financial and operational processes. "The last area is where my passion lies," Anna explains. "Each engagement is different. We have many meetings and there is always excitement about what it is that we can do. In order to add value to a client however you have to translate this excitement into something achievable. To do this you really need to establish priorities around what exactly customers are trying to achieve"

Zetta's clients are in financial services, manufacturing and retail industries and the company is being "very well received" Anna says. "We have invested a lot in our people to train them to understand the industry they're servicing" says Anna. "Along these lines we advise our clients and make sure they are ready before embarking on an information project. In terms of corporate performance management specifically, if the internal processes are not correct and if there is no faith in the integrity of the data, there is no point rolling out a technology solution. I have been going into businesses in South Africa for many years now and it is amazing how many companies start projects without being ready!"

"The scope of a modern CFO's job has widened considerably and they are fulfilling a very strategic role in their organization. With that they are expected to make key decisions and those decisions are only as good as the information that supports them, access to accurate and relevant information is key in making informed decisions, and the amount of information needed is getting bigger and bigger."

Anna says Zetta "plays in the gap between strategy and operational execution", trying to drive a simplified approach home to CFOs. "Some companies have many different tools that do the same thing. The first step is to optimize the current solution, taking into account the people, the processes and the existing technology in play. What are the risks in the current, how do we address those and instill good practices that support data integrity. As an example, we are often faced with a spreadsheet based processes in many small or large organisations that are not regulated, disparate, time consuming and very risky. Instead of applying traditional methods of "rip and replace" with a database centric solution, we suggest a less disruptive approach that leverages the existing spreadsheet reliance and provides the security and auditability of a structured solution."

That doesn't mean an enormous overhaul of the systems is always needed, says Anna. "Zetta's span of technology understanding is very wide. Our agnostic approach enables us to help CFO's work through the sales dazzle and set them on a tailored Information Journey aimed at delivering visible and incremental business value."

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