TBM vs ITFM: New clothes for IT Financial Management?

Over the past few years, we’ve heard more and more IT professionals mention “Technology Business Management” (TBM), especially in the federal government space.

With the buzz around TBM, one could think it is a brand new, transformational concept that will radically change the way IT organizations do business. As it’s currently used and implemented, however, TBM 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 practices through advanced Excel, building homegrown systems, using existing ERP systems, and leveraging business intelligence tools. More recently, several solutions have been specifically 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? As global consulting firm Deloitte puts it, “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.” Deloitte identifies IT Financial Management, Project Portfolio Management, IT Service Management, and Application Portfolio Management, and 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.