For organizations to remain sustainable in an increasing complex and competitive environment, it is essential that they gain greater control and visibility of their IT costs. Today’s IT executives are faced with more challenges than ever before, from rising business demands, growing pressure to keep costs down and greater need to show the ROI on technology investments. At the same time, they face the paradox of having to optimize their IT costs, while ensuring the company continues to leverage the latest technologies that can help them innovate and remain ahead of the competition.
So what can they do to overcome these challenges and drive the right strategies that lead to improvement? The first step is to ensure the company has full insight into the spend and utilization of the various systems and technologies in use across the enterprise. When equipped with the right IT Financial Management (ITFM) solution, business and IT can be brought into a fully collaborative planning and budgeting process that drives efficiency and promotes innovation.
Still, organizations are apt to find numerous challenges when making any change to company processes, especially those that focus on the financial aspects. These challenges were brought front and center at the recent Gartner IT Financial, Procurement & Asset Management Summit, which aimed to highlight the best tools and strategies for optimizing IT costs, enhancing the state of IT asset management and ensuring compliance. From highly engaging sessions lead by Gartner’s analysts, the summit brought to light many of the obstacles and opportunities in ITFM. Some of the highlights include:
The right technology and business plan are the keys to ITFM success: In the session, “IT Financial Management Tools of the Trade,” Gartner Research Director Robert Naegle explored the growing need for better financial accountability as a way to develop business trust, build spending confidence, enable better decisions, drive financial responsibility and encourage efficiency. And with more organizations recognizing the need for ITFM, it is important that they understand how they can achieve the desired results. Having a solution that can deliver the needed services, such as chargeback, service costing or budgeting, is only part of the equation. Also necessary is to understand the goals of the initiative, create a business plan and continuously review and improve delivery processes.
To drive the most value from IT, define outcomes first: To get the most value from a company’s technology investments, it is crucial to define the desired outcome in terms of where the business is now and where it wants to be. This point was brought up during the keynote session, “The Real Business of IT,” delivered by Vice President & Gartner Fellow Richard Hunter. As Hunter pointed out, “If project outcomes aren’t defined in material, quantified and baselined terms, you will never know whether you got what you wanted.”
Gain needed visibility through budget planning: In the workshop session, “IT Budgeting DO’s and DON’Ts,” Rob Shaefer explored ways to streamline the IT budgeting processes in order to minimize time spent on this activity and maximize the value of IT. The session highlighted the reward for effective budgeting as “less time spent on a more effective budgeting process that can add value by allowing IT leaders and business partners to set priorities and manage spending.” When budgeting is done correctly, organizations benefit from greater visibility into the total cost of ownership for their technology solutions, and that insight enables IT executives to run IT like a business.
As organizations continue to face significant challenges in optimizing their IT portfolios and budgeting processes, the ability to understand control and consumption – and plan accordingly – can make all the difference. Many of the sessions at the Gartner IT Financial, Procurement & Asset Management Summit explored this in-depth, providing attendees with insight into the steps they can take to improve their ITFM processes and ensure a successful strategy for the future.
 Naegle, Robert. “IT Financial Management Tools of the Trade.” Gartner IT Financial, Procurement & Asset Management Summit. 8 September 2014.
 Hunter, Richard. “The Real Business of IT.” Gartner IT Financial, Procurement & Asset Management Summit. 8 September 2014.
 McGittigan, Jim. “IT Budgeting DO’s and DON’Ts.” Gartner IT Financial, Procurement & Asset Management Summit. 7 September 2014.