Corporate finance leaders have enterprise resource planning (ERP). Sales leaders have customer relationship management (CRM). And technology executives? We have a discipline that operates at the heart of what we do: Technology Business Management, or TBM.
I’ve served as the Chairman of the TBM Council, a nonprofit business entity dedicated to advancing the discipline of TBM, since early 2021. Prior to that I was a member of the Council Board of Directors. Today we are thrilled to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of this global community at our annual TBM Council Board of Directors Invitational. Our agenda and discussions are focused on the important evolution that TBM has taken and continues to take to meet the pace of change that today’s modern enterprises face.
Let me share a bit of our backstory. More than a decade ago, a group of technology executives decided they needed better visibility into technology investments for planning, billing, and benchmarking. Through this desire, and with the support of Apptio, the TBM Council was created to focus on translating the business value that IT provides, as well as changing the perception that IT is merely a cost center.
Over the last 10 years, TBM has evolved into a discipline that improves business outcomes by giving organizations a consistent way to translate technology investments to business value. TBM defines the tools, processes, data, and people needed to manage the business of technology. It is backed by a standardized TBM taxonomy and a TBM framework (developed and managed by the TBM Council), which structures the problems technology and business leaders are looking to solve.
As the IT operating model continues to evolve, leaders today must connect technology investments not just to an App or Services total cost of ownership (TCO), but to an end-product TCO tied to the business strategy.
TBM in the modern enterprise provides organizations with a roadmap to a product profit and loss (P&L) focus where product innovation and speed to market are paramount.
Technology options have increased
The pace of technology has accelerated significantly. Cloud was once only the destination for new apps; it is now a significant part of the technology footprint. Teams started to adopt Agile development techniques from grassroots efforts, but most organizations use Agile by default today. Finally, since the pandemic began, we’ve seen SaaS take off as more organizations focus on supporting a mobile and remote workforce. You must manage your cloud solutions, Agile development, and SaaS portfolio in the same way your organization manages every other part of its business. With this hyper growth of technology change, the TBM discipline has evolved to incorporate these new parts of the IT operating model.
The role of technology in the business has changed
We’ve seen a dramatic acceleration in the speed of business and decision-making. Decisions organizations made every quarter just four years ago are now being made monthly, weekly, or even daily by leading organizations. Top companies constantly evaluate their investments and portfolio to reallocate resources and defund underperforming digital initiatives.
One of the expansions in the last 10 years has been the role of technology in the business. Technology has gone from being operations support to translating business strategy into the technology roadmap. Technology leaders used to only collect, organize, store, and protect data, but they now use data to reveal actionable insights to drive faster decision-making. Finally, instead of managing costs focusing on reducing IT spend, business leaders expect technology investments to be future-proofed and focused on driving outcomes. These changes drive the need for TBM—so organizations can evaluate and review technology investments and connect them to business objectives.
TBM drives business outcomes
TBM started with a focus on IT costs and planning for an on-premises, data center-focused world. But IT costing and planning processes have changed with the adoption of pay-as-you-go SaaS, OpEx-fueled IaaS, and a shift away from data centers where most applications were monolithic and static. These changes are now reflected in TBM’s business-focused view of the technology footprint.
Today, you can begin your TBM journey from anywhere in your organization. Chart a path according to your needs with functional teams, dedicated teams, or dedicated offices. Where (and how) you start depends on your practices and operating model and the business outcomes you are aiming for. A company adopting FinOps cares about unit economics. One moving to a product-oriented operating model cares about product TCO. These priorities indicate where you need to start and provide a path to TBM maturity through foundational, advanced, and transformational steps.
The TBM landscape
Organizations use the TBM landscape to connect technology investments to business value. This means translating the things that money is spent on—cloud bills, data center investments, third-party software, and developers—to outcomes the business cares about.
Organize data and think through business objectives
Use the TBM landscape for specific transformation objectives, like the transition from projects to products. Now, TBM reflects how business operations support both project- and product-based practices. Additionally, TBM helps place resource management outcomes into value streams – specific activities that align with business outcomes.
The TBM landscape helps organizations trying to accelerate their cloud journey, providing a way to map a plan and measure the outcomes of cloud migration. Today, TBM includes different practices for managing cloud spend and a range of methods to measure the business impact of cloud, including objectives and key results (OKRs), key performance indicators (KPIs), and profit and loss (P&L).
TBM is not a static discipline
TBM is not something “done” a few times a year. It is a practice that organizations should adopt and leverage throughout a business operation lifecycle to help with strategic planning and ideation, demand and capacity management, financial planning, and delivery and value management. TBM brings visibility and data to each stage to help inform decisions. And it is this cycle that is accelerating today, driving the need for accurate information that is available at the speed of business.
The 10th anniversary of the TBM Council is an opportunity to look back at what our community of TBM practitioners have achieved, as well as look forward to the ongoing evolution this community will lead in the TBM discipline. When we gather each year at the TBM Council Board of Directors Invitational, the future-facing orientation of TBM is always discussed and strategized, and the work we’ve done to capture the changes in cloud and product-led development is the next evolution. I’m beyond proud of where the last 10 years has taken us, and I look forward to where the TBM Council will develop this TBM journey in the next decade.
I encourage you to add your own voice by joining the TBM Council and getting involved in our community activities, our education courses, our strategy communities, and other collaboration events we have throughout the year, including in November at TBM Conference 2022.