Viva la evolution: how IT leaders can optimise technology spend to ensure long-term, sustainable growth 

Digital transformation has taken centre stage for IT leaders over the past few years, and this is not set to change any time soon

We have seen rapid, highly decentralised adoption of SaaS tools which have enabled businesses to survive a challenging trading period. However, as technical teams are required to integrate new tools quickly, there have been some sacrifices in quality and measurement. To make this architecture sustainable in the long-term, key decision-makers should be looking to optimise and properly rationalise their technology investments to ensure that these services are bringing value to the business. 

Lack of data in the face of rapid tech adoption 

In the wake of the pandemic rush to digitisation, complete digital transformation is no longer a competitive differentiator. According to a study last year by Ricoh Europe, two-thirds (67%) of business leaders are looking to increase or maintain their levels of investment in digital transformation in 2022. Another survey by Studio Graphene found that half of respondents anticipate trialling new technologies will be a top strategic priority for their business this year.  

Although beneficial, transformational projects may not deliver the return on cost and time invested which leaders desire. Priorities and objectives are adjusted continuously, and existing technology stacks should be refined to suit those needs without needing to start from square one.  

IT decision-makers understand that the measurement of investments and transformation projects is vital for success. One study by Apptio and Harvard Business Review found that 92% of leaders surveyed view alignment of tech investment and business goals to be important, yet only 62% had confidence in their data. Why the gap in confidence? It is because adopting and evolutionary approach towards a business technology stack requires a culture of measurement and analysis that many organisations don’t have. This is not something that can be achieved using traditional financing tools and spreadsheets. So what are the possible solutions?  

Establishing data measurement and analysis through TBM 

A framework that offers best practices for gathering and interpreting this amount of data is Technology Business Management (TBM). The discipline of TBM encourages the automatic reporting of technology spending across the entire organisation. One such way leaders can do this is by establishing a common ground that can easily connect IT, finance, and the business through a fixed measure of business value across all departments. 

By enforcing the ongoing tracking of value, the usage of services can be assessed against current business objectives, meaning key decision-makers can make judgements driven by accurate information they can trust. Most importantly, leaders can clearly identify where investments are not fulfilling the needs of the organisation.  

For any TBM tools which are introduced into the business, leaders need to ensure that they can scale with the company in the long term. Integrations for these tools should be carefully evaluated against how they contribute to accomplishing product roadmap goals, and supporting continued scale and growth of workloads without increased operational overhead.  

Evolution, not revolution 

The impact of adopting TBM practices is evidence that a focus on refining your advanced technology stacks which you have in place is the most sensible approach. Clear, detailed data goes hand-in-hand with a more methodical strategic mindset, recognising that continued adoption of new technology is not feasible in the long term. It means leaders can focus on ‘evolution, not revolution.’  

One report surveying TBM Council members found these organisations are significantly more likely (63% and 37%) to agree or strongly agree that TBM has helped them improve the data they use for day-to-day operations. With the help of these frameworks, interpreting detailed financial data can be done with confidence. 

As for any SaaS subscriptions, or tools cut back, the money saved can be used to reinvest in those which progress current business objectives further. Evaluating usage against value means leaders can ensure budget is being well spent without over-investing their time and resources in implementing new technology. 

Growth is on the mind of many leaders across the globe. Now that progress can continue, it’s more important than ever that they have data they can rely on to drive their decision making. TBM practises provide leaders with the correct tools and processes to regularly align business goals and technology investments. From these insights, leaders can reduce investments where needed, and choose to reinvest in technology services which would be better suited to their ever-evolving objectives. 


About the Author

Henrik Nilsson is Vice President, EMEA at Apptio. Apptio was founded in 2007 to provide cloud-based business solutions to customers. Since our inception, we’vegone on to become a one-stop shop for businesses looking to optimize their IT budgeting, forecasting, andfinancial analyses.

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