Scorching Arizona heat couldn’t keep more than 130 IT financial management professionals from celebrating the ITFMA’s 25th anniversary at a four-day conference held last week in Scottsdale. Hosted at the Phoenician Hotel, the conference celebrated the founding of the IT financial management profession and offered attendees a variety of workshops and educational seminars on IT financial topics as well as the opportunity to network with industry peers and leaders of the profession.
With CIO leadership teams pressured to have more fiscal responsibility and financial discipline in their approach to technology deployment, it’s little surprise that the attendees were doing more than just “kicking the tires” – they’re ready for action. Whether learning why organizations need specialized IT finance and business management budgeting & planning tools, understanding how to implement a best-practices approach to developing a fiscally responsible services-based IT management framework or gaining insight into how to transition from highly manual spreadsheet-based IT financial management, the educational sessions provided attendees with fresh perspectives and actionable information to bring back to their own organizations.
For IT finance professionals unable to attend the conference, here are some highlights from the event:
Attendees were interested in more than a cursory look – Unlike past ITFMA gatherings, Scottsdale attendees came with action in mind. They were there to assess vendor offerings because they are ready to do something, whether that’s internally increasing rigor around financial discipline or partnering with an industry leader to bring greater financial discipline to technology deployment.
There is a need for industry standards – A common theme that emerged from the conference is that this is still an underserved professional community. Unlike other areas of IT such as Infrastructure and Operations, Project and Portfolio Management, Service Management and Enterprise Architecture, IT Finance and Business Management does not have a set of standards for defining services and products in a cohesive or standardized way – and industry professionals agree that IT Finance Management standards are needed to evolve the discipline.
Killer product demonstrations showed advanced capabilities – IT finance professionals agree that manually managing a maze of Excel spreadsheets is not sufficient to advance the practice of IT finance and business management in their own organizations. Now, more than ever, organizations need to begin services-based cost modeling versus simple allocation models for corporate technology expenses. Recognizing this, attendees were interested in learning about specialized technology budgeting tools and how to implement a best-practices approach to IT finance and business management.
It was a milestone celebration – To celebrate the industry’s 25th year, conference organizers brought together many of the industry’s prolific speakers to share their knowledge and experiences with industry peers. ComSci feted organization founder Terry Quinlan at a cocktail reception last Thursday night, where conference attendees enjoyed delicious food, drinks and informal networking with their peers while learning about ComSci’s award-winning, SaaS and BPaaS-based IT financial management capabilities.
The sense of urgency around IT financial management was palatable among attendees during both formal and informal discussions. There was also greater recognition that a best-of-breed ITFM solution trumps the capabilities of a unified suite that incorporates other types of IT management like service, project or help desk management.
It’s this sense of urgency that is keeping the community vibrant, and as it continues to grow, the ITFMA organization and the discipline have a bright future. If you have attended an ITFMA conference, then you know it’s one of the best opportunities for the growing IT Financial Management community in terms of education and networking. If you’ve yet to attend, consider joining us at one of the 2013 events or contact us to learn how we can help your organization improve its financial discipline around technology deployment.