Financial Services Company Optimizes Its Portfolio With Full TCO for 4,500 Applications

“Implementing TBM has allowed us to triangulate expenses back against standard products, compute, end-user services, network, and so on. That has allowed us to take advantage of benchmarking and hone in on areas where we could drive further expense optimization.”

Technology is at the heart of modern banking. And this financial services company’s vision is to operate with a modern ecosystem that fosters innovation and customer experiences leadership.

The challenge

The company is executing a technology strategy that takes advantage of public cloud services, enabling the company to be more agile and responsive by building scalable solutions that result in innovative products to enhance the customer experience.

The company’s technology strategy is comprised of three key initiatives:

  1. Improving financial transparency
  2. Increasing operational efficiency by increasing the percentage of spending on growth projects
  3. Accelerating the company’s digital strategy by leveraging technology to drive business capabilities

But to support the initiatives, the company needed to make some changes. “We had a lot of data and data sources that were difficult to consume,” said the executive vice president and chief financial officer for technology. “And we were way too dependent on spreadsheets.”

TBM adoption

The executive vice president and chief financial officer for technology created a transformation agenda that would provide key financial capabilities for the Technology group to manage in a modern environment. This included implementing Technology Business Management (TBM) disciplines with Apptio.

In 2020, the company laid out an aggressive strategy to onboard nearly all products in the Apptio portfolio to create a unified data model and total cost of ownership model to drive a better understanding of application costs.

By July 2021, the company had implemented solutions across the ApptioOneMX product family spanning analytics and planning, focusing on IT infrastructure and vendors. Today, over 350 team members conduct regular cost analytics with the system, and more than 150 use the solution for their planning and forecasting process.

TBM results

Financial transparency for better decision-making

For the company’s business leaders to make the best decisions regarding technology expenditures, they needed better financial transparency and insight. But before implementing Apptio, it was a challenge to provide them with the information they needed.

According to the executive vice president and chief financial officer for technology, Apptio helped them create a “CEO invoice” that brought together application data with project data. This helped the business leaders better understand what they were paying for and why. More importantly, it showed them levers they could pull to optimize their costs. “This was a huge step forward for us,” she said.

More insight has helped the company improve its operations and save money. Since implementing Apptio, the company has identified $65 million of savings and optimization opportunities.

Improved total cost of ownership reporting

“Before implementing TBM and Apptio, we had a lot of data gaps,” said the senior vice president of technology finance modernization.

One of those gaps involved how the company calculated total cost of ownership (TCO) for applications, products, and services. Before Apptio, there was no common data set for TCO reporting. Individual teams calculated TCO based on different methodologies and volumes. “The process was very inconsistent,” he said.

Implementing the TBM framework has enabled the company to standardize its approach to TCO calculations, which has provided leadership with an unprecedentedly accurate picture of the total cost of over 4,500 applications. “Standardizing on how people view TCO has benefitted us,” he said.

A good example of this benefit involved the company’s hosting strategy. The company’s Technology Hosting Initiative is a multi-year data center and cloud rollout strategy designed to optimize on-premises hosting environments and expand into the public cloud. Data from Apptio has helped company leaders better understand baseline costs, which has enabled them to make decisions that have saved the company over $100 million.

More accurate benchmarking of costs

Another area where the company has seen tremendous improvement is benchmarking its costs for products and services. “Before our TBM journey, we were not able to correlate our spend to industry-standard products and services,” he said. “The company looked at its expenses, forecast, and budget through a general ledger, financial hierarchy lens.”

Apptio has enabled the company to benchmark its costs against the industry and explore more ways to optimize expenses. “Implementing TBM has allowed us to triangulate expenses back against standard products, compute, end-user services, network, and so on,” he said. “That has allowed us to take advantage of benchmarking and hone in on areas where we could drive further expense optimization.”

Benchmarking also has helped give the company’s leaders confidence in their strategy. “We can show how we compare with others in the industry and demonstrate that our technology costs are optimized,” he said.

Ability to link vendor payments to contracts faster

Before implementing Apptio, the Technology Finance group struggled to tie vendor payments to contracts and purchase orders. But now, after implementing Apptio, the process is much easier and more streamlined, which saves the team time and increases their productivity. “We’ve been able to much more seamlessly connect into our accounts payable system and triangulate payments back to the actual contract, engagement, product, and purchase order that each vendor is supporting,” he said.

Better tracking against expense reduction initiatives

One of the company’s strategic goals is to reduce expenses. Each year, group leaders set efficiency targets for their respective areas and achieve them throughout the year.

For the Technology group, Apptio is helping the team plan their work against targets and track their progress. “We are using the actions plans functionality in Apptio BI to track our progress towards our Enterprise Expense Saving Initiative programs,” he said. “Each month, we ask our financial teams to track their progress towards those goals, and those data are logged in Apptio. And we can then use that information to compare against our other financial reporting data within the toolset.”

Improved budgeting and forecasting

Before implementing Apptio, budgeting and forecasting required a lot of human intervention and labor hours working with countless spreadsheets. But now, the process is much more automated and is based on actual inventory data pulled from the company’s systems. As a result, the Technology Finance team has created detailed budgets and forecasts that include contracts, labor, assets, and projects for approximately 150 cost center owners faster and more accurately than they could before. They are on track to reducing the budget and forecast cycles by 25% to 50%.

More value ahead in 2022 and beyond

The company has achieved a lot since starting its TBM journey. But, the executive vice president and chief financial officer for technology said, there is much more planned for 2022 and beyond. “We’re going to continue our journey and develop a standard product and pricing model and implement Apptio’s billing solution,” she said. “We’re setting up our ecosystem to create a product P&L and give product owners the autonomy to prioritize capabilities on their backlog based on financial value measurements so they can make the best choices that will help them maximize product profitability. This is very exciting because it will enable us to create an entirely new capability across all of the company.”

For more information about Apptio and TBM, visit

Additional Resources