With the right forethought and execution, launching an IT Financial Management (ITFM) or Technology Business Management (TBM) practice is often the single most impactful initiative an IT organization can undertake. Both disciplines share the same common goal: maximize transparency and efficiency of spend by running IT like a business — defining and pricing services, tracking consumption, and billing usage (via real charges or simply a “showback”).
However, many organizations struggle to understand what it takes to put an effective ITFM/TBM practice in place. Even more problematic, they often set out to build the function before fully defining the specific outcomes they hope to achieve.
As a result, new ITFM/TBM programs frequently start strong — typically accompanied by a software purchase — only to fall by the wayside when anticipated results never materialize.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way.
By following a proven path to maturity, organizations enable themselves to:
• Understand exactly where they are today and why
• Create a custom roadmap to achieve the highest priority business outcomes in the least amount of time possible
• Outline the specific prerequisites and action items required to grow incrementally and sustainably
• Track and measure progress to maintain trust, demonstrate value, and compare against peers
Maturity Factor #1: People
The foundation of every successful ITFM/TBM practice is a team of competent individuals who are trusted by the business. Without a strong, influential team, it’s very difficult to enact positive change on how technology services are supplied by IT and demanded by the business.
That said, the maturity of an ITFM/TBM program’s People Element is measured in two ways:
1) The degree to which the ITFM function is formally defined and supported by dedicated staff.
2) The level of influence and impact the ITFM function has over decision-making.
Rudimentary ITFM/TBM organizations have no dedicated IT Finance staff. In some cases, there may be 1-2 people who spend their free time on highly elementary activities, but no formal responsibility is defined. Consequently, the sole requirement to mature a program’s People Element from Rudimentary to Foundational is to establish some form of permanent responsibility for IT Finance activities.
It might be nothing more than a single part-time resource or FTE. What’s important is that the organization establishes some form of dedicated effort to IT Finance activities, regardless of what it may look like on day one.
Once an organization reaches the Foundational stage by establishing some form of dedicated IT Finance function, the next step is to start building out a more complete team. Because, as the scale and complexity of ITFM/TBM activities increase, additional manpower will quickly become a necessity. Typically, this means Sustaining organizations will need a minimum of two FTEs dedicated to the IT Finance function.
But program headcount isn’t the only indicator that an organization has reached a Sustaining level of maturity; the second, and arguably more important, indicator is the degree of influence the ITFM/TBM team holds over the rest of the business.
A Sustaining ITFM/TBM practice may still have plenty of room to improve when it comes to trust and credibility. However, they’ve typically built a stronger reputation with the business than their Foundational counterparts, meaning they’re at least beginning to be able to influence decision-making.
Moving further up the maturity scale, the indicators of a Progressive level of maturity for People are:
• The IT Finance function now contains multiple members, led by a strong program champion.
• Analysis encompasses not just supply-side IT costs and fully loaded business services, but consumption as well.
• The IT Finance team becomes a trusted partner of consumers, holding considerable influence over most
To achieve the final level of maturity (Transformational), the ITFM/TBM team must fully pivot from reactive analysis to proactive analysis — i.e. delivering insight into what’s going to happen, not what’s already happened.
As a result of this, the ITFM/TBM staff will become the ultimate authority on any decision connected to technology costs or consumption, not just to business consumers and internal IT stakeholders, but also to top-level management across the organization.
Read more on other maturity factors including process, technology, and data in this free guide.