Valentine’s Day got me thinking about relationship advice, TBM and IT budgeting.

Technology Business Management (TBM) was founded on the relationship pairing of technology and business management principles. This relationship can deliver powerful operational excellence, business innovation and transformation results. TBM is also instrumental in building and strengthening relationships between IT and other functional stakeholders. For example, at Nationwide Building Society in the UK, Group Services Director Debra Bailey found that “TBM has totally changed the conversations we’ve had across the business.”

The conventional view of IT budgeting is that it’s all about the money. Funding investments and making trade-off decisions about business priorities are the primary budget outputs. However, another critical dimension is the underlying relationships that drive the IT planning process. These relationships are essential to achieving a successful outcome.

To strengthen IT financial planning in your organization, check out these “relationship tips” on building alignment, collaboration and synergy into the budgeting and forecasting process:

Alignment

In Psychology Today psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith advises that alignment is essential for a happy, successful relationship: “First, you must ensure that the individual and couple goals are in alignment. This alignment is critical for creating harmony and allowing you both to reach your dreams.”

The same is true in business. According to Gartner the main focus of any budget should be to ensure that business decisions being made are consistent with corporate strategy. By aligning IT planning with business priorities, you make more informed IT investment decisions that drive greater enterprise value. 

Collaboration

Relationships are all about partnership and collaboration through shared experiences. In personal relationships this might take the form of cooking dinner together or an exciting vacation adventure. For IT budgeting and forecasting this involves extensive cross-functional collaboration with stakeholders outside of IT, such as corporate finance teams and cost center budget owners.

Effective IT planning engages all stakeholders by giving them greater visibility to budgets and forecasts and actively involving them throughout the process. With more “skin in the game” this collaborative approach increases confidence in the final plan numbers and drives accountability for overall plan success.

Synergy

In the best relationships the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This concept of synergy through “better together” also holds true for IT planning.

When organizations integrate cost actuals for showback/chargeback into IT plans – and then socialize this spend data among IT, finance and budget stakeholders – everyone can clearly see consumption impacts. This drives the tough business trade-off discussions and decisions needed to hit plan targets.

 

By managing the IT planning process with this type of synergy, you create organizational relationships that are greater than the sum of their parts. The end result will be a budgeting and forecasting process that’s the envy of your peers.

 

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