TBMC 2022 Day 2: Lead With Certainty in Uncertain Times

Day two of the TBM Conference included a reveal of Apptio’s latest innovations and advice on extending accountability for cloud spend. Here’s what you missed.

I’m having a great time meeting so many of our customers at TBM Conference this week. Our conversations keep circling back to how TBM gives them an edge against their competition. Here are some of the highlights from day two of the conference.

Make better data-driven decisions in challenging times

Apptio announced its latest product updates and releases to enable our customers to make better data-driven decisions in these challenging times. I was particularly excited to hear Apptio Executive Vice President of Products Eugene Khvostov introduce Cloud Financial Planning. Cloud Financial Planning is a new product with Beta starting in a few weeks. It will enable customers to accurately plan and forecast their cloud budgets — reducing waste and getting greater control over spend.

“Cloud Financial Planning combines Apptio’s unique abilities for analyzing existing cloud consumption patterns and building collaborative forecast plans based on business needs,” said Khvostov. Cloud Financial Planning will provide a collaborative planning process and automate the consolidation of budget inputs.

A platform to enable growth and scale

Apptio Chief Technology Officer Jeremy Ung began his presentation with astounding statistics about Apptio’s growth: A 120% increase in customers since 2019, 35,000 active users, and 6.5T cloud billing records securely processed monthly.

“While we’ve been scaling and growing, we’ve had to transform how we operate and continue to improve the quality of service you receive as customers,” said Ung. “It’s important for us to keep cutting our calculations times and reducing the number of opened support cases to provide our customers with a better experience.”

Apptio has built a platform to enable the growth and scale our customers need. “We’ve invested both in terms of how we build software in our engineering organization, but also in how we create product platforms,” said Ung. “This ultimately changes how we build software.” Apptio’s Kubernetes platform has helped us have a consistent approach to deploying and managing compute infrastructure —  furthering our customer commitment to deliver a platform that scales with their needs.

Hearing how our customers use Apptio is always a highlight of the TBM Conference, but it was great to turn the table and hear how Apptio uses its products to operate with efficiency. “We have applied practices around cost observability using Cloudability both in how we operate and in how we develop new products and capabilities,” said Ung. Using ApptioOne, the product and engineering teams understand how customers use our products to ensure we invest the right resources in the right places. Additionally, Targetprocess allows the engineering team to conduct strategic portfolio and resource planning at any time.

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Technology investments and product profitability

One of the challenges I’ve regularly seen organizations grapple with is trying to understand product profitability. Apptio Vice President of Finance Kristine O’Shea introduced new dashboards built on the Apptio platform that give teams access to insights to maximize the return on investment (ROI) of every spent dollar. “It’s not just Finance who cares about ROI,” said O’Shea. “Every team needs to be able to react quickly to change — and know the impact of those changes on profitability.”

O’Shea showed how these dashboards pull in data sources from sales and marketing and discussed how they can be used in review meetings. “How is the product portfolio performing? You can drill in and review products by geography or segment that help you make the right investment decisions across the business,” she said.

Extending accountability for cloud spend

With digital transformation dependent on cloud solutions, there have been a lot of sidebar conversations at the conference about the enterprise view of cloud spend. Apptio Chief Customer Officer Toyan Espeut hosted an on-point panel discussion on how FinOps practitioners are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in cloud cost management and using Apptio to help support more advanced use cases.

Lisa Lyman, head of data, digital & technology economics at Takeda, discussed how her team built out a chargeback program for cloud with Cloudability and Cloudability TotalCost. “Showback makes people interested, but they are still more focused on their systems than cost,” said Lyman. “But when you pair decentralized budgets with chargeback, stakeholders have the ability to control their costs and look for places to save.”

Many organizations cannot deliver because they don’t have a defensible application total cost of ownership (TCO). PayPal Lead Technical Product Manager Stacey Han gave great insight into how her team was working toward application TCO and leveraging application efficiency scores. “It isn’t good enough to just lower costs,” said Han. “A lot of what we do is around cost. But the expense of what? As we lower costs, our quality can’t be negatively impacted.”

Additionally, Zuora Senior Vice President of Engineering Radhi Chagarlamudi talked about the evolving nature of sharing data and insights. “Technology leaders have always had data challenges,” said Chagarlamudi. “What’s new with cloud is that it is constant and ongoing. You need visibility into how to cost resources. And you need to democratize the data so it’s available to anyone — the CFO, engineers, and every other stakeholder.”

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TBM Council Awards

Conference attendees gathered on Tuesday night to congratulate the 2022 TBM Council Awards winners and nominees. This was the 10th anniversary of the awards, and it was wonderful to see the TBM community once again acknowledge its peers who are achieving success with TBM.

The TBM Conference sessions yesterday provided a great view into Apptio’s innovations and where our customers are using them. Apptio customers are pushing our platform to do more, and our engineering and product teams have delivered in turn.

Today, I’m looking forward to hearing how the TBM community is responding to the current macroeconomic uncertainty while still managing the business of technology.  I hope to see many of you in the conference hall today or online during the virtual TBM Conference 2022 starting November 15-16. Sign up for the virtual experience here.

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