After an active period of adopting Technology Business Management as a financial management system, the industry has weakened somewhat. But this management method is still more relevant than ever.
Since 2012, there has been a lot of talk about TBM, Technology Business Management, in other words a data-driven framework that should help establish and manage IT budgets, consumption levels and their value. The expected benefits of TBM seemed unexpected 4 years ago: financial transparency, access to data and above all the promise to make informed decisions or analyze the consequences of previous decisions.
A new world opened up for us, which had to change the way companies view IT: the TBM discipline had to transform the perception of IT, from a boring necessity to a function valued for its ability to produce value. We believed that TBM would allow the industry to move forward and improve standards. Given the rapid technological advances, if you had asked these representatives where we would be four years later, they would have told you that the TBM discipline would be an integral part of the alignment between business and IT, and that would be perfect. positioned to support the transition to digital.
Where are we today?
But in 2016, the same topics were still on the agenda: savings linked to older infrastructures, matching mobile tariffs with consumption levels, and improving asset use. Of course, all of these considerations deserve our attention and are necessary to establish operational credibility. But we should already reap the benefits of the systematic and widespread use of best TBM practices. We should consider the next development, the role of Software Defined Enterprise, cloud broker and orchestration models, service-defined architecture. We should be aware of the impact of increased spending on digital technologies outside the IT field and the growing importance of data-driven governance in dealing with this changing and complex environment.
In its current form, TBM has entered a period of stagnation because suppliers and customers have not been able to develop the service. After an active period of introduction of TBM as an economic control system, the industry has weakened somewhat. But faced with the tsunami of digital innovations and the many changes they bring, companies must now see things more clearly to prepare for the coming disruption. In order to seize the opportunities that new technologies will bring to light, companies absolutely need to be able to rely on a solid foundation with strict management rules and strict controls of operations, based on integrated and updated data, as a TBM strategy does it possible.
We know that in order to apply the TBM principles correctly, it is necessary to adapt the company’s operating model, its management and organizational style and even reconsider the definition and delivery of IT services. These are not insurmountable challenges, but when it comes to looking further and considering TBM practices in an approach to supporting and improving the coming digital disruption, it seems that companies are facing a major obstacle.
This is all the more important as the distinction between services provided by IT and those acquired by the company is blurred. Where IT may have been seen as the preferred solution to meet certain challenges, services are now defined in terms of results, with decision makers worrying a bit about delivery terms as long as the issue is resolved. In such an environment, IT must more than ever demonstrate the value it adds to the business or risk being ignored.
We know that technology can facilitate the execution of any company’s business strategy by automating processes, by innovating products and services, and by connecting optimally with customers. But unless the IT organization demonstrates its added value at all levels of new technologies, its representatives will lose their authority and they will be less encouraged to define the specifications of the technology, the application needs, and ultimately the business strategy.
Delivering value should be the stated ambition of any IT organization at all levels of a company’s hierarchy. To demand a higher level of commitment, we need to consider TBM’s considerations about changing operating models and new service delivery conditions, as well as how the framework can provide the insight needed to manage the digital business, Digital Business Management.
We hope that the next discussions on the subject will see the emergence of a more ambitious TBM vision, open to innovation more than to recycling. A version of the TBM approach that is capable of defining the future and pragmatic alignment of business and IT, instead of focusing on optimizing companies’ storage capacity as the only path to their survival. If the TBM approach is not further questioned, it risks being reduced to an IT tool for financial management. If not, it could play a major role in defining the conditions for managing technology in the new world of digital business. The company has been able to perfect its approach to technology management, now it is the technology management’s turn to perfect its approach to creating value for the company.