Trip Report: ITFMA World of IT Financial Management Conference

It was great participating in the recent ITFMA conference in San Francisco. We certainly enjoyed the sessions, the setting and the good company. A main theme of many of the presentations was ‘how to cost the migration to the cloud?’ which was the focus of both of our presentations at the conference.

On Monday, Bob Multhaup and I delivered the workshop “Workload TCO Analysis For Building Business Cases.” This was a session to develop a live business case using Workload TCO Analyst – and it was very interactive. Here are some of the attendee issues we white-boarded and addressed during the workshop:

1. Dealing with changing company structure (e.g. mergers and acquisitions)

2. Balancing "Run" versus "Transform" cost

3. Proving the value of IT services

4. Lack of visibility of true cost (TCO) of IT with only partial cost recognition

5. Urgent re-platforming requirements. Budget down, costs up

6. What’s real? (costs are all blended and obscure)

7. Prioritization. Everything is priority #1.

8. And finally, during a break someone wrote in: Getting control of my data!

During this 3-hour workshop we addressed these issues, and discussed how to bring ORDER (Objective, Rapid, Defensible, Efficient and Repeatable) to IT cost analysis and business case development (see our earlier post for details on ORDER).

On Wednesday, I presented Workload TCO Analysis to a larger room. In this venue, I spoke to the following issues:

1. How can financial modeling reduce the risk and prove the value of IT choices?

2. What is the true cost of alternative re-platforming scenarios?

3. How can the economic impact of these scenarios be effectively communicated to IT, finance and business stakeholders?

Other insights we gained during the week:

  • Re-platforming, as in migrating from physical to virtualization and the cloud continues to challenge IT financial analysis.

  • Many attendees said that the cost of cloud (in all its permutations) was underestimated.

  • Re-platforming is more than technology transplant, there are significant organizational, process, and governance issues that are often not fully recognized.

  • ITFM professionals are evolving from accountants to analysts, often a painful transition from a left brain to a right brain focus.

  • The accounting requirements are becoming more complex as cloud services vendor management becomes a requirement.

Overall, the attendees were positive about the future of ITFM, however they often felt that the function was understaffed and under appreciated. Many of the sessions were focussed on helping them achieve personal success through improved communication and recognition of their critical role of creating the financial foundation for IT business transformation.

We salute the IT financial professionals for the yeoman work of helping their enterprises understand the cost and benefits of the critical decisions made during this period of accelerating change.

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