Apptio’s suite of solutions provides the Command with a centralized platform to manage its resource allocation process, reduce budget variances by 20%-30%, and enable continuous transparency and accountability between Finance and IT.
In today’s global strategic environment, the United States faces complex challenges in deterring adversary aggression and coercion. Aided by the proliferation of modern technologies and weapon systems, competitors and adversaries are actively developing advanced capabilities that threaten the United States, its allies, and its global partners.
This Department of Defense (DoD) global warfighting combatant Command is responsible for ensuring strategic threat deterrence and decisive response preparedness for the US’s combat-ready forces. Their IT directorate manages over $20 billion dollars of IT assets and provides 90 IT services to US warfighters and mission-critical programs.
The “old way”
Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) is the DoD’s internal methodology for allocating resources to provide the necessary capabilities to accomplish the department’s missions. The objective of the PPBE process is to provide DoD components and various combatant commanders (COCOMs) with the optimal mix of forces, equipment, and support that are attainable within established fiscal constraints.
To accomplish these PPBE requirements, the Command historically managed technology spend via spreadsheets and highly manual processes, resulting in lack of alignment and ineffective collaboration between supporting functions (i.e., IT and the mission) as well as difficulty communicating value versus the cost of provided services. Disparate data sources and immature data quality led to disconnected planning, highly manual and time-intensive processes, and lack of clarity around the source of truth.
A lack of confidence in the IT budget lowered confidence in IT’s support for mission-critical systems. The Command responded by increasing IT budget touchpoints to monthly and weekly towards the end of the fiscal year (FY). During the last two quarters of the FY, IT service managers spent 10 to 20 hours a week preparing for and participating in budget and execution review meetings. This included updating and recreating individual spreadsheets and slides.
The increase in diligence did not resolve the inaccuracies or misalignments of resources, forcing IT service managers to spend significantly less time providing and continuously innovating IT service delivery. The Command desired greater agility, accuracy, and transparency in budgeting, planning, and execution to quickly make informed, data-driven decisions.
Technology Business Management provides a framework for PPBE transformation
This Command is a leader within the DoD because of its mission’s significance. The disparity within their PPBE process needed to be resolved and communication across Command and mission stakeholders needed to be aligned. This meant moving away from the traditional PPBE management approaches and implementing a proven IT financial management framework and a purpose-built solution.
The deputy director for IT recognized that the Technology Business Management (TBM) discipline could ensure true organizational and cultural change. They then brought in Apptio to consolidate the disparate data and allow for role-based individual inputs, granular data modeling and allocation capabilities, and drillable business intelligence reports and dashboards. The framework for PPBE transformation also included:
- Foundational transparency with a cost model that aligns actuals to TBM cost pools and towers.
- An automated and streamlined budgeting process that starts, creates, and tracks their budget and allows service managers to provide input.
- Improved data quality to track and report on meta-data elements to answer service manager and finance questions.
- Authoritative data and leadership visibility for Command leadership (CIO and CFO) utilizing Apptio reporting, allowing for more agile and informed discussions and quicker decisions.
- Showback based on application and service TCO and consumption to ensure alignment of work to objectives and mission-critical services.
Apptio has helped this agency save time, improve communications, and increase fiscal accountability. Years of manual Excel-based management of their PPBE process had resulted in significant budget variance and, on average, $5 million in non-planned or budgeted, unfunded resource requests.
Increased IT financial management maturity has provided deeper transparency and a single source of truth to view, manage, and communicate the Command’s IT budget. The Command now has a real-time, accessible, authoritative data source for all information related to its annual allocation and budget projections.
Service managers and engineering teams now only spend a couple of hours developing individual spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides for monthly budget reviews with the Command leadership. Previously this took days. This time now goes into supporting critical mission systems and delivering services to the mission programs. Monthly, quarterly, and annual budget reviews with the Command leadership, including the Comptroller and CIO, have gone from two weeks to three days on average.
The comprehensive, TBM-focused approach to IT Finance has empowered productive conversations using a common language and a single platform, Apptio.
The TBM program delivers transparency into IT and creates a culture of accountability for IT service management. The Command has also used Apptio to automate the IT budgeting process with a single source of truth for financial planning. This has delivered improved transparency and communication across the Command and increased overall fiscal accountability, including insights into service capacity versus demand; asset, application, and service consumption analysis; budget to actuals (obligations) burn-down; self-reporting to allow for response to ad hoc data calls; and action-plan tracking.
IT and finance divisions now collaborate more efficiently. They can evaluate funding requests for unfunded initiatives and identify duplicate funding requests and work efforts. Self-reporting and action-plan tracking automate portfolio management for key projects.
The increased transparency, streamlined planning, and improved alignment and agility provided by the TBM program have provided significant value to leadership across the Command. “The Command has never had this level of access and confidence in our technology financial information,” said a leader in the resource management organization. “This has freed up days of our engineers’ time to direct their efforts to the mission rather than preparing for budget reviews.”
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