What’s in a Name?

Over the past few years, the usage of the term Technology Business Management (TBM) by IT professionals has been increasing, especially in the federal government space.

With the increased focus on TBM, one would think it is a new, transformational concept that will change the way IT organizations do business for now and forever more. However, under closer inspection, TBM, as it is being currently used and implemented in the private and public sectors, is just a different term for what many have been practicing for years: IT Financial Management (ITFM).

For decades, organizations and IT leaders have attempted to improve their ITFM by utilizing ERP systems, Excel, homegrown systems, and many other business intelligence tools. More recently, several solutions have been developed to automate and enhance business processes, to enable more efficient and effective use of IT resources, to increase visibility into IT expenditures, and to improve decision-making regarding IT investments. These ITFM & TBM solutions have helped IT leaders and practitioners successfully advance their practices.

But what about the term TBM? According to Deloitte in a publication released in 2015, Technology Business Management – Running IT as a business (https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/about-deloitte/us-about-deloitte-tbm-solution.pdf), “TBM encompasses a broad set of process and application areas that when properly integrated can create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.” The applications identified in the publication are IT Financial Management, Project Portfolio Management, IT Service Management, and Application Portfolio Management. Deloitte goes on to say, “Currently, no one application facilitates all of TBM’s capabilities. Therefore, integration of supporting products should be required to achieve the full solution.” In other words, true TBM is the broad integration of numerous IT management practices and systems. It is not simply a taxonomy or a framework for ITFM, as some are describing and using the term today. When TBM is used to identify a framework and taxonomy, Nicus embraces and supports it because it is synonymous with ITFM. In this usage, framework and taxonomy are capabilities, methodologies, and best practices. TBM is neither a product brand name nor the only path to better IT financial and business management. More than one ITFM/TBM software vendor can align to the TBM framework. 

What’s The Value?

Much like patrons of Super Bowl LII will react to prices at the concession stand, most of us frequently look at our monthly, household bills and think, “Why am I paying so much for that?”  When we receive our credit card statements or utilities and cell phone bills, we expect them be accurate, understandable, and reasonable. We also would like to know what the prior charges were and what we can expect to pay in the future. These comparisons help us evaluate whether we are getting good value from the services or not.

Similarly, enterprises expect to know what value IT is delivering to the business/organization. This can only be determined by having transparency into the detailed costs of IT. As with the personal bills, we want to know what we’re paying for, are costs increasing/decreasing, and what are future costs? Delivering these details in Excel can often be cumbersome, time-consuming, and incomprehensible. The best way to overcome this problem is automating the collection, allocation, and reporting of data in an IT financial or business management tool like Nicus M-PWR. M-PWR aggregates and consolidates cost-related data from a variety of sources and identifies enterprise linkages to cost information in a complex IT environment. The analytics delivered support strategic IT decision making, financial planning, budget justification, chargeback/showback and performance analytics, with strong benchmarking and measurement capabilities. Armed with this information, IT leaders can then communicate not only IT costs of services, but also IT service value to the enterprise.

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‘Tis the Season

This time of year is always cause for reflection - on what we are thankful for and what lies ahead in the upcoming year.  In doing so, we recognize that not everyone is as fortunate as we are, and we think about how we can help our fellow neighbors.  The Charities Committee at Nicus is no exception so they coordinated a volunteer event in Salem, VA at Feeding America – Southwest Virginia (FASW). https://www.faswva.org/

This highly respected organization collects food from local donations and redistributes to people in the Southwest area of Virginia who have an inadequate food supply.   According to the FASW website, “more than 60,000 pounds of food is rescued at FASW in Quality Assurance alone” and one of their largest donators is Kroger grocery stores who often donates food that is no longer sellable due to superficial imperfections like dented packaging.  Truckloads of non-perishable food come into the warehouse each week and volunteers sort, check, and box up to send to those in need.  Nicus employees were excited to help with this cause.

After a brief introduction, Nicus employees, with game faces on and an eagerness to help, were quickly put to work inspecting, cleaning, and sorting superficially damaged goods. Along a 30’ long table, an assembly line of out-bound boxes was set-up and filled with dented cans and slightly crumbled boxes.  This sorting task, performed by Nicus staff, allowed for future volunteers to further inspect and distribute to needy families in the local area.

I encourage you to check out the link for this worthy organization and consider donating time or money to your local food bank.  Everyone wins when we help those in need – this time of year or any time of year!  Have a wonderful and safe holiday season! 

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Did Someone Say Project Financials?

SURPRISE!  It’s pop quiz time:

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above questions, Nicus has a solution for you!  Run – don’t walk – to your nearest IT Finance Advisor and ask him/her about the new M-PWR portal.  Nicus Software is excited to announce the addition of the Project Financials portal that joined the existing best-in-class family of M-PWR portals:  Planning, Cost Modeling, Bill of IT, and Application TCO. 

The new Project Financials portal allows Organizations to forecast, analyze, and track spend related to projects across the Enterprise.  

Key benefits of the Project Financials portal include:

Key features and capabilities include:

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Top 6 Things I Learned From an Escape Room

Despite what the title might suggest, I’m not talking about a place to hide from your boss or other stress in the IT finance world.  Instead, escape rooms are one of the hottest trends in the country.  According to Wikipedia, an escape room is a “physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategy to complete the objectives at hand.”  Players must work together to solve problems with the goal of escaping a locked room within sixty minutes. 

Nicus Software recently sponsored an escape room event.  After reminiscing about the event, it occurred to me the ingredients for success in an escape room are the same as those for success in every other facet of our lives, including implementing a successful IT Financial Management program. 

Here are the top six critical (and analogous) ingredients I learned from being part of a team that successfully completed an Escape Room:

  1. Collaboration – As the old adage says: a team is more than the sum of its parts.  I truly believe every team member has something unique and valuable to contribute.  Our greatest leaders are the ones who can identify and maximize the unique skills each of us brings to the table.
  2. Be fearless – Sometimes we hesitate to share our thoughts and ideas for fear others will judge them as bad or stupid.  Have the courage to share your ideas with others.  Who knows?  Maybe your idea will not work but it might trigger another idea that does work!
  3. Think creatively – When it comes to solving problems, creative thinking is KING!  If solutions to problems were always straight-forward and easy, they would not be problems, right?  Allow your mind to think “outside the box” and to come up with creative solutions.  Creative thinking goes together with having the courage to share your thoughts and ideas.  It is the one-two punch of problem-solving.
  4. Ask for help – Sometimes I can be too stubborn and prideful to ask for help.  However, when you think about it, why is asking for help a sign of weakness or defeat?  Isn’t asking for help often an opportunity to collaborate, leverage each other’s strengths, and share in the success?  I have learned it is often better and more efficient to ask for help from others than to sit on my own and spin my wheels.
  5. Be resilient – As we all know, not every idea is a winner.  However, sometimes you just have to punt or make an educated guess and give that idea a shot.  If it doesn’t work, you can learn from it and try something else.  We learn much more from our failures than we do from our successes.  Do not let failure discourage your and prevent you from trying another solution or idea.
  6. Have fun – Attitude is everything when it comes to challenges and problem-solving.  Train your brain to view them as exciting opportunities to stretch your limits and enjoy learning more about your teammates.  Life is meant to be fun so make sure you are viewing these challenges through that lens.

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