Mastermind Albert Einstein shared some wise words with us many moons ago, “Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.” Say that ten times fast without messing up (go ahead, I dare you…).
After that tongue twister of a dare, start to think about the real meaning of the quote. Einstein’s words make a fantastic point that the value of some things in life cannot be measured (friendship or courage). They count, but, they are not quantifiable. The second part of the quote focuses on how some things (bonds, stocks and money) can be measured, but he questions whether they really count in life. Leave it to the man who developed the theory of relativity to give us some food for thought.
I assume you’re asking, well, what does this have to do with ComSci or IT financial management? Ask yourself: if not everything that can be counted counts, how do you know what you’re counting really counts? That is the beauty of ITFM. You ensure everything you count counts. At last week’s Impact 2015 User Conference, Brian Stedman of Team ComSci and Jean-Francois Boudreau of Canadian National Railway took the stage share their thoughts on reaching cost transparency and cost optimization. Their presentation revealed not only the journey specifics but also the solid partnership behind this dynamic duo–a trusting and dependable partnership.
Jean-Francois (JF) and Brian detailed the approach CN Rail has taken and continues to take to reach cost transparency. First, JF and team set up the foundation for success. There’s no good building without a good foundation. His team defined the vision in terms of domains and metrics, the project team members and finally obtained C-level buy-in. Next came the alignment of financial information and accountability (timesheets, contracts, etc.). Then, he and his team established the product list (approximately 650 products included in all) and a configuration management database. After the team set the internal foundation, it was time to select the right ITFM solution – the “real enabler for IT cost transparency.” Manual processes weren’t sustainable in the long-run and the team wanted a partner in the process. An implementation-only partner wasn’t going to cut it in the long-run as JF shared, “this is not a quick implementation but a journey.”
Cost optimization will be the team’s next challenge. Cost optimization first requires the team to improve financial credibility (baseline, benefits, accuracy, and accountability). Next, they will need to focus on cost management optimization including internal and external benchmarking, cost per unit (utilization vs. total capacity) and application portfolio management. This step leads into prioritizing IT investments based on value, priorities and strategy. JF’s on-going collaboration with us has enabled his team to reach their goals more quickly by facilitating the communication of IT value to business leaders, bringing business and IT into a collaborative planning and budgeting process and driving efficiencies to promote value optimization.
JF stressed a few key lessons learned throughout the process that helped drive his team’s success:
- Get an executive sponsor
- Communicate objectives and goals to executives and all IT employees
- Do not underestimate the IT business process changes and effort required for the transformation
- ITFM solutions are great enablers but long-term collaboration with the right partner like ComSci is critical as this is not a quick implementation but a journey
Did you pass the ten times fast dare? Do you still agree that not everything that can be counted counts? ITFM is here to help make sure that everything counted does count. You’re busy and your team is busy. With ComSci, you’ll be able to manage and communicate the cost, quality and value of the IT services you deliver to the enterprise – and more importantly, you’ll have a partner worth partnering with.