"Closed-Loop" Model Bridges the Gap between IT and the Business, Resulting in More Accurate Planning and Budgeting of IT
Las Vegas, Nev. - Forrester IT Forum 2010 - May 26, 2010 - Apptio, the leading provider of on-demand Technology Business Management (TBM) solutions, today introduced a Demand-Based Forecasting feature that enables line of business managers to directly input departmental forecasts into Apptio's software. With this offering, Apptio is the first TBM provider to provide "closed-loop financial management" for IT, resulting in a more accurate planning and budgeting process that reflects the needs of the business and resources required from IT. Apptio's closed-loop approach provides tighter alignment with business priorities, significantly improves cost efficiency, and enables transparent reporting on the cost and value of IT services.
"A new and urgent imperative is emerging in IT. As business users' expectations of IT continue to rise, many IT operations and development groups lack the business maturity to effectively demonstrate the business value of IT investments and operations," according to "Market Overview: IT Service Management Support Tools," Forrester Research, Inc. March 2010. "Business users are demanding greater IT cost transparency and financial analysis in order to understand the true cost of IT. They believe visibility and analysis are critical in enabling them to intelligently manage demand for IT services and participate in cost management decisions."
The budgeting and planning processes in IT are notoriously painful and inaccurate. The lack of a clear connection between how business fluctuations affect the demand for IT resources forces IT to make best guesses based on historical information. However, past performance is not a good indicator of future trends. Business leaders have the best foresight into how business drivers—such as headcount, number of customers supported online, number of trades performed or products manufactured—will likely change in the future.
Apptio's Demand-Based Forecasting takes many of the same concepts that have worked so well in manufacturing and Supply Chain Management, and applies them to the world of IT. Allowing departmental forecasts and changes to be directly entered into an organization's planning system automates the forecasting process, aligns the use of IT resources to the highest priority needs, increases accuracy in planning, and enables real-time tracking of budget variances. Without this direct link, IT business analysts, IT operations, and IT finance teams spend weeks manually gathering and analyzing data to ensure changes are reflected in an organization's forecasting, planning and budget reports. Using Apptio, companies now have a single source of record that allows them to immediately understand how changes in key business drivers directly affect IT services.
Creating a Closed-Loop Financial Planning Process for IT
Closed-loop IT financial management starts with capturing future demand directly from the business units. Apptio's TBM solution, based on the IT services allocation methodology established by the customer, translates these business drivers to increases in IT services and the IT capacity needed to support them. The closed-loop process: plan, execute, measure, analyze, and optimize - enables organizations to run IT more cost efficiently, and prioritize and align IT resources with business needs and priorities.
- Demand-Based Planning. Business demand should drive IT capacity planning and the budgeting and forecasting processes. Organizations should start the planning process with those stakeholders closest to the business drivers - the business units. This will improve accuracy of long-term rolling plans and enable the business to operate more efficiently. IT should also provide regular variance reports based on real-time actual spend to keep IT operations within budget.
- Execute on the plan, including any cost optimization projects.
- Measure progress against the plan, by providing a Bill of IT services to the business units, CIO dashboard of operational performance (cost and quality of service) and IT financial performance metrics (run the business vs. change the business spend, fixed vs. variable, cost center mix, variance against the budget, ROI, and more).
- Analyze areas of inefficiency or potential improvement with IT cost transparency. Understand IT service cost drivers by analyzing granular unit costs in order to make cost efficiency improvements. Perform extensive ROI studies on the use of cloud computing, virtualization, application rationalization and standardization, in order to bring about significant improvement to the underlying cost structure.
- Optimize the cost and quality of IT services. By empowering IT managers, IT finance and the business units with data into the cost, quality and usage of IT services, TBM enables a process of continual cost and service quality optimization.
"By enabling a closed-loop financial planning process, Apptio makes the business a true partner in controlling IT spend, further closing the gap between IT and the business," said Michel Feaster, vice president of products at Apptio. "With the introduction of our new solution, organizations can update budgets and forecasts based on real business priorities. Demand-Based Forecasting gives IT the data it needs to respond more effectively, and plan accordingly with minimal variance so they aren't over or under-committing resources."
Apptio is the leading independent provider of on-demand Technology Business Management (TBM) solutions for managing the business of IT. Apptio enables IT leaders to manage the cost, quality and value of IT Services by providing deep visibility into the total cost of IT services, communicating the value of IT to the business through an interactive Bill of IT™, and strategically aligning the planning, budgeting and forecasting processes. Apptio's TBM solutions play a critical role in helping companies understand and drive chargeback, virtualization, cloud and other key technology initiatives. Global enterprise customers such as Bank of America, Boeing, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, St. Luke's Health System, and Swiss Re rely on Apptio® products and services to reduce costs and align IT with business priorities. For more information, visit the Apptio website or the Apptio blog.
Barokas PR for Apptio