"It's becoming critical, Captain! We can't handle it!" is a line uttered by the fictional "Scotty," Chief Engineer of the Star Trek series. The relationship between the Captain and the Chief Engineer, while often parodied, illustrates a point. Against all odds, and physics itself, the Captain expected that Engineering could allow them to escape or overcome the challenge. Likewise, IT leaders are often approached with similar requests to save the day, or to do the same thing or more with fewer resources. Unable to boil down the complexities of running IT into terms and understanding for business leaders who don't understand all the details, IT leaders may not be able to escape certain destruction.
The call of "do more with less" and having a lean IT department has been standard practice for the last decade. Most saw a big drop in IT budgets in 2008. At that point many of the largest enterprises came to the CIO and said, again, "Do more with less." At this point it became difficult to just continue to cut back; many of the easy cuts had already been made. Questions like, "What system is really important?"; "Which services are critical to the business?"; "Which Applications do we really need?" or "Which projects should we invest in?" became harder to answer with successive tightening-of-the-belt actions.
In 2008, when the TBM Council was founded, it was a small group facing the challenge of making IT more relevant and doing more with less. Since that time it has grown into a larger community. It is made up of IT leaders in many different fields, but with one common vision: running IT like a business. This is different from ITIL alignment of IT to the business – it is the reality of what the mandate "do more with less" really means. That mandate drove the creation of a common framework to help determine what is, and what is not, really essential for IT to provide. One of the hardest things IT has had to deal with is growing operational costs and scrapping innovative programs.
Historically, cuts and decisions on what to invest in were made based on individual leaders' situations and without any real help of analytics or data. Through the creation of the TBM Council, a framework has emerged along with a benchmarking system: the web-based Technology Business Management IndexTM. These tools allow IT leaders to experience beyond the individual situations they are in.
Today IT budgets are rising for many, and in fact technology spend in individual business units is on the rise. That doesn't mean that IT leaders should not be running IT as a business. In fact, it means that leaders must be more accountable. Companies that are able to engage in better customer experiences will win. The levers of Cost, Value and Quality remain in place, the key is in understanding where they should be adjusted. The TBM framework allows companies to measure themselves and to adjust the levers accordingly. Tools like Apptio help to reinforce the TBM framework.
It can be easy to get tied up in situations where you cannot see the forest for the trees. For people who are running IT organizations, it is a complex mechanism of moving parts and request fulfillment. Without a framework in place and a path to move towards, it's easy to find yourself alone in the forest.
As a leader of an IT organization, you should do two simple things: First, explore the TBM Council website (be sure to go through the TBM Index and learn about the TBM framework). Second, get started with that framework by taking steps towards cost transparency.
Evergreen can get you moving along the path today. Learn more about our approach to IT Cost Transparency and our "SmartStart Engagement"
About the Author
Jason Whitesides, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Solutions - Evergreen Systems
As the EVP of Enterprise Solutions, Jason is charged with evaluating the solutions that Evergreen provides to make sure we are bringing value to our customers. Additionally, he is responsible for innovation and works with our key customers, practice managers and senior consultants to develop programs and initiatives that will lead transformation of IT. Jason also manages all pre-sales technical solutions support at Evergreen.
Jason has more than 20 years’ experience in IT. He has been with Evergreen since it merged with net.works (NDW) in 2008. He is an alumnus of Brigham Young University where he majored in Electrical Engineering.
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