Key #5 to a Winning ITFM Implementation: Balance of Precision & Simplicity

An ITFM implementation can have its challenges, for example: accepting your data is “good enough” to get started and other obstacles including “precision traps.” Many ITFM implementations are plagued with these efforts to achieve an attractive, but unnecessarily high degree of precision, which adds difficulty to the project without significant value.

The litmus test for anything that adds complexity to the model should be: will this additional precision result in a different business decision?


The service model is a frequent hiding place for precision traps. An oversized catalog of services, for example, adds complexity to the cost model itself and increases the data burden, since IT must measure additional usage metrics. Several forces will pressure you to expand your service catalog. IT service managers will want to split and tier services for technical accuracy. Customers, especially in a full chargeback environment, will request more granular services for fairness and equity. While these are both reasonable requests that should always be considered, they should be weighed against their impact on the model’s complexity and whether they will affect decisions.

Another example of a precision trap in the service model is found in models that use a high level of recursion, where a section runs repeatedly or loops to achieve greater levels of precision for several service costs. For instance, a shared service such as the Service Desk may be allocated to services like Desktops or Servers that eventually are cycled back to contribute to the cost of the Service Desk. This recursive cost is often looped multiple times to gain a reasonable level of precision. But too many loops can significantly slow down the overall process and make it harder to explain and gain buy-in from non-ITFM stakeholders, without adding sufficient information to change decisions. 

How to avoid precision traps:

Limit the number of distinct service offerings: Keep your service model to below a hundred services offered. Even the most complex organizations, with billions of dollars in IT spend, rarely need more to enable informed decisions.

Limit the number of iterations in recursive models: Remember, every iteration takes more time to run and turn results around, and is harder to explain, particularly to non-ITFM stakeholders.

Over-sized service catalogs and high level of recursions are just a couple examples precision traps often seen in ITFM implementations. Balance precision and simplicity and consult with your ITFM software provider to avoid these and other common pitfalls.  If you’re still in the process of evaluating and choosing the right ITFM solution and provider, stay tuned for the next blog in this series. Or download the full eBook now.


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