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I attended MIT’s CIO Symposium last week and had many insightful conversations with the senior IT leaders and researchers in attendance. An important theme that came up repeatedly during the conference was the need for more CIOs to engage with their company’s Board of Directors.


As a recent article from the Wall Street Journal notes, Clorox CIO Ralph Loura was recently promoted to SVP and added to Clorox’s executive committee in part, because of his commitment to embracing Technology Business Management (TBM) best practices within Clorox. I was thrilled to see this news because I have tracked Clorox’s evolution while serving with Ralph on the Board of Directors of the TBM Council for the last two years.


Organizations across industries have felt the impacts of the lingering recession and cost cutting; of emerging regulations and oversight; of disruptive technologies and new service models; of bad data everywhere, with little insight into its relevance. These disruptors have forced organizations to take deep dives into understanding their existing structures – and expenses – to find new ways to operate and become more agile.


Apptio’s Technology Business Management (TBM) applications have always captured the attention of IT leaders. Dean Nelson, an executive at a global commerce company is also one of the TBM Council’s visionary members. But Dean is so much more than that – he’s also a humanitarian leader.


The rise of cloud computing, mobile technology and data analytics is disrupting existing business models. What role will the CIO play, if any, in digital innovation? The questions surrounding the relevance of the CIO has been an integral part of Apptio and Technology Business Management.


Core to Apptio’s ability to automate the measurement of IT costs in the previous example is the Apptio TBM Unified Model (ATUM). Developed by Apptio in conjunction with the TBM Council, ATUM is a blueprint that standardizes IT categories and the method for measuring their costs. Researched across hundreds of enterprise deployments, this model standardizes around seven key layers of IT, with views for stakeholders across the organization including finance, IT technologists, and business users.


Apptio is a high-growth SaaS applications company that gives technology leaders the facts needed about IT to make faster business-aligned decisions, improve efficiency, and communicate value. We are singularly focused on making the CIO of an organization successful by maximizing the value of the IT investment portfolio. Apptio utilized category creation to couple technology and business model disruption.


Last week, over 400 Apptians from all over the globe met in Bellevue for a family reunion at our corporate annual kickoff “Aspire.” There was fun and celebration. But at the core of it, we connected to talk seriously about the future.


Last week, I recapped my five key insights from the inaugural TBM Conference. We had many great discussions with the 400+ senior IT leaders there, and a topic of many was the evolution of the CIO role: As the CMO and lines of business increasingly drive technology decisions, is the CIO becoming less relevant?


Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting 400+ CXOs and Senior IT Leaders in Seattle for the inaugural Technology Business Management (TBM) Conference. Over a course of three days, we discussed provocative topics such as: the critical role of TBM for anyone making major cloud decisions, how the TBM disciplines of IT/business alignment and agility impact corporate revenue growth, and how failing to partner with business leaders leads to poor service portfolio decisions. We discussed how the CIO role has evolved into a business role (and that some CIOs haven’t figured this out yet).


CIOs have long recognized that a language gap exists between IT and its business-side stakeholders, making it difficult for the business value of technology to be clearly communicated and understood. Working with the TBM Council and drawing upon its extensive research in the area of CIO dashboards, Forrester Consulting conducted a study to identify a set of metrics to help fill the language gap.


Dean Nelson, vice president of Global Foundation Services (GFS) at eBay, was one of the four main speakers at the TBM Council’s most recent summit. With more than 200 internal and external employees at GFS, and a budget of $500 million-$1 billion, Dean is responsible for the heavy data and analytics flow that helps eBay manage $170 billion of commerce across its platform. As Dean noted, the key question he grapples with every day is: “How do we deliver for our 160 million users?”


It’s very challenging, but very critical, for IT leaders to be able to talk the CFO’s language in detail and depth. It requires new vocabulary and new concepts, but without this, there’s no way to successfully explain, or sell, what IT is accomplishing to the financial team.


What started as an Apptio user group of six CIOs is rapidly becoming a movement. In my dual roles with Apptio and the TBM Council, it’s my job to evangelize; and in the course of my work I’m occasionally accused of hyperbole. But in this case the evidence is irrefutable. Nearly a third of all Fortune 100 companies—including Boeing, Facebook, Coca-Cola, Safeway, Target and Xerox—have embraced TBM.


Over the last 3 days, the Board of Directors of the TBM Council, along with highly influential guests held a planning retreat in Napa Valley. Our goal was to review our progress against our objectives, broaden our support amongst our peers and discuss a sustainable operating model to support these efforts. As we step into the next stage of our development of a TBM discipline, it has also become clear to many CIOs that there must be a commitment and collaboration between them and their CFO & CEO. The CIO can no longer function independent of the organization, as CEOs and boards are starting to demand a standard way to describe the cost & value of IT and to benchmark those costs against peers within their industry.