Whenever you take on a big project, there’s always that moment after it’s up and running when you take a deep breath and appreciate everything you went through to make it happen. Unfortunately, it only lasts a moment, because getting the operation up and running wasn’t the organization’s ultimate goal.
That main goal, of course, is to generate business value from it (and seeing that value yesterday would be nice!).
If that sounds like the mood right after your IT financial management implementation, you’re not alone. It’s practically universal among enterprise IT leaders. The danger, unfortunately and too often, is that ITFM processes can quickly stall, require greater-than-necessary time and money, or become nightmares for CIOs to manage.
Here are four steps you can take in the next 30 days to generate IT business value without taking your organization offline or blowing your budget.
Step 1: Focus on data insights, not data volume
As part of its job, your ITFM solution will be processing plenty of data. But data volume isn’t the holy grail. It’s data relevancy.
The reports you produce don’t need to be long; they need to be pertinent. They need to meaningfully influence business decisions. So don’t get hung up on the data you’re generating. Use what you have, find the KPIs, and set the rest aside. Deliver reports that have purpose and keep moving forward. That’s one quick way to turn ITFM into a real competitive advantage for the organization.
Step 2: Pick a cost model and go
The cost model is the heart of ITFM’s ability to drive your IT decision making. With so many models to choose from, many practitioners tend to second-guess, reiterate, and rebuild them. We call it the “cost-model cyclone.”
Don’t get caught in the storm. Wanting your model to work immediately and precisely is understandable, but tinkering with it right away can lead to paralysis by analysis. The best thing to do is pick a model now and focus on refining it later.
No model is ever perfect, and which one you use is less important than how you use it and what it delivers. So just pick one, get started, and keep getting better.
Step 3: Create reports that drive decisions
Most reports, by nature, focus on the past. They tell us, “Here’s what happened.” And that’s valuable. But not as valuable as using the information in that report to anticipate the future. That’s what ITFM reporting needs to do.
Your financial reporting should be a window into options and opportunities for the organization’s future decisions. So don’t just share data. Share context. Tell a story. Budget leaders need more than the raw numbers to make informed decisions about IT spend. They need to understand the how, the why, and the what if, too.
Make the future the focus of your reports. Make them as digestible and actionable as possible. And write them with the reader in mind. Tell the financial decision-makers how their data-informed decisions will impact the organization.
Step 4: Connect to broader goals
The best way to ensure the long-term success of your ITFM implementation is to make sure it’s tied to the vision and overall goals of the organization. And even if it was conceived outside that context, that doesn’t mean it can’t evolve in that direction.
You obviously set some goals for your implementation. Now that it’s underway, find a way to tie them to the objectives of the business at large if they weren’t already. Because it’s naturally tied to boardroom expectations (read: performance), it’s fairly easy to connect IT financial management to the organization’s fiscal goals. But when you tie it to the organization’s culture and values as well, you’ll take the process to another level – one that won’t go unnoticed at the top of the org chart.
There’s no question IT finance is complex, with lots of moving parts. But taking these few steps can help you begin creating value from your ITFM implementation sooner. And whether it’s a SaaS solution or your own proprietary application, the sooner the better.