Four Questions to Ask When Considering an ITFBM Solution

Enhancing the effectiveness of IT financial management is a priority as CIOs align technology investments with value to the business. Many organizations achieve this by using IT financial and business management (ITFBM) solutions that combine technology with optimal business processes needed for increasing IT management maturity.

While ITFBM solutions are a key to best-practices approaches for managing IT products and services, software alone may not offer greater insight into technology investments. That’s because not all solutions are created equal. There are do-it-yourself options as well as more comprehensive offerings that include business process services and access to expert counsel.

Which solution is right for your organization? Whether you’re beginning the evaluation process or have already created a short list of preferred partners, answering the following questions can help you select the right solution:

What kind of specialized expertise is required? Increasing rigor around IT financial business management requires highly specialized skills. So, if you purchase software as the foundation of an in-house solution, you’ll also need experienced business and technology analysts to manage the underlying infrastructure, drive efficiencies from systems and convert data into useful information. Developing these capabilities requires investing in recruiting, hiring and training, along with salaries, benefits and other elements such as developing continuity plans, in case of employee turnover.

Conversely, a complete ITFBM solution includes all necessary ITFBM business process services, bringing access to these specialized capabilities while serving as an extension of the corporate IT finance management organization.

How are roles and responsibilities defined? Make sure you know upfront what is and is not included as part of the IT finance and business management solution. For example, how is change managed? If handled internally, how does that impact the service or cost for ITFBM software application? Who are the key stakeholders from the IT team who are responsible for managing and ensuring receipt of the disparate source files? Can the IT sub-ledger file be uploaded automatically into the corporate financial system?  Or is that responsibility with the internal IT or corporate finance team? Outline how all ITFBM processes will be managed and define roles and responsibilities prior to implementing a solution.

What is included in the standard offering? To assess the value associated with the solution, look under the hood and identify what is standard and what is extra from an ITFBM vendor. For example, are software upgrades included? If records or other adapters change, will you incur an additional expense? Some software may include a la carte pricing, resulting in budget fluctuations. However, a solutions provider that offers ITFBM software applications combined with business process services offers a level of predictability that can support more accurate budgeting, delivering a more complete solution.

Who is responsible for quality and control? ITFBM is data-intensive, requiring data quality checks and controls to ensure accuracy of data source files and outputs. Without appropriate internal expertise and resources to manage this key process, it’s near impossible to achieve accurate or sustainable IT financial transparency. An ITFBM solution that includes this provides that “extra set of resources” to ensure the utmost accuracy is consistently and sustainably presented within the ITFBM solution.

The right ITFBM solution adds value to the enterprise by providing visibility into IT products and services and how they’re used by the business, systemically solving the very real challenge of IT cost and consumption transparency.

 


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