It used to be that buying IT equipment or licensing software was an event. But with the rise of cloud computing, it's now an ongoing process. The challenge that change creates, of course, is keeping track of what services are being consumed by whom each month. While spreadsheets were effective tools for keeping track of purchases that were made occasionally, it's now clear that in the services-led world of cloud computing, spreadsheets aren't really going to make the IT grade anymore.
What's needed, says Chris Pick, chief marketing officer for Apptio, a provider of an IT financial management application that is delivered as a service and now has over $100 billion of IT spending under management, is a more sophisticated approach to IT financial management that allows IT professionals to be able to instantly see not only what services are being regularly used, but how much they actually cost to deliver.
Not everything in IT, however, is being delivered by a third-party service provider. Pick says that IT organizations need access to systems that allow them to track both capital and operating budgets, and in some instances compare the costs of using a service versus having the internal IT operations team build that service themselves.
There's no doubt that the IT supply chain is becoming exceedingly complex to manage. Not only are there redundant services to worry about, but in businesses where IT is critical to the delivery of a good or service, executives want to be updated on IT costs by the minute.
Without some way of organizing all that information, IT organizations will not only drown in a sea of conflicting financial data, they more than likely will suffer from a paralysis of analysis simply because there is no easy way to quickly understand the financial implications of any IT procurement decision. As the song goes, the IT times are definitely a changing, which is why the time has come to acquire IT budget management tools that were designed for the times we live in.