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Start Optimizing IT Budgets With EA and ITFM

Posted by Marc Zinnemers on August 17, 2020

Balancing IT budgets with enterprise architecture

As microservices, cloud migration, and agile development increase the complexity of IT landscapes, CIOs in every industry are under added pressure to balance the costs of running IT with investments in technology necessary for growth. For CFOs like me, it's expected that technology investments link directly to serving the customer and tie to business outcomes.

Balancing IT costs to enable business

As an example, digital transformation in the finance industry has become part of a successful business strategy rather than just another investment in technology. It has enabled financial institutions to run more cost-effective operations, meet regulatory deadlines, and optimize the experiences of employees and customers. Rightly so, digitalization has evolved into a business strategy rather than one pertaining to IT units alone.

Yet while it's clear that organizations across industries need to be innovative to meet ever-changing customer demands, many enterprises still lack structured information on their technology purchases — a problem that can be partially solved by elevating IT cost management with up-to-date, actionable insights into IT architecture. For this reason, it's become critical to align business and IT strategies — at all levels of the organization — through dedicated tools for managing enterprise architecture (EA).

marc-zinnemers@2xEncompassing on-demand reports and visualizations to see how business capabilities are supported by technology, EA Management tools like LeanIX are a way for CIOs to hold meaningful discussions with colleagues on the underlying quality and value of IT services — not just their price tag. At the same time, these tools allow EAs themselves to parse and store financial information on IT landscapes in a manner easily accessible to C-level stakeholders.

It all stems from the fact that today's CEOs and CFOs want to know more about IT than what's needed to keep the lights on. But to make this possible, EAs, cloud architects, and CIOs must work in unison to present clearer assessments of architectural data — all of which are contextualized by user group and function — in order to drive informed financial decisions. Further, it's up to application owners throughout all corners of an organization to ensure management has a clear view of the total cost of ownership at all times.

Tangible outcomes and clear savings

At LeanIX, I regularly see new potential for cost saving when our customers put such transparency in place. For one customer in the retail industry with locations worldwide, their tool-based EA program is currently generating higher degrees of convergence between business and IT teams during their greenfield approach to IT modernization — a journey that’s so far produced milestones like collaboratively identifying, assessing, and eliminating one redundant piece of software to save $1 million a year.

A similar example comes from a customer in the manufacturing industry. For this group, as a result of leveraging open APIs to populate tailor-made charts and metrics within the dashboards of key business stakeholders, IT teams have been able to work closer with the rest of their organization and fast-track decisions during cost-intensive M&A activities. As opposed to hours or even days’ worth being spent on mapping technical dependencies, instantaneous analytics reports are now available for these stakeholders with information generated from a single source of truth accessible to all.

But very recently, I’ve been especially intrigued by a success originating from a customer in the casino entertainment industry who is making full use out of the integration between LeanIX and Apptio, makers of the leading IT Financial Management (ITFM) solution. By syncing LeanIX with Apptio, the company has almost entirely eliminated the need for manual data maintenance when aligning accurate financial data to its internal business management system. This has ultimately allowed the group’s IT and business units to more easily visualize, track, and report application costs as they relate to business functions.

LeanIX and Apptio connect to meet customer needs

The integration between LeanIX and Apptio arrived earlier this year to fill an information silo that existed for users of both platforms. Now, for the first time ever, bi-directional data flows are available to build cost reports using the volumes of architectural data concealed within dynamic IT budgets. This means less labor is required to see the true value of a combined dataset spanning across a technology landscape, and as a result, users of both platforms have more avenues to examine application portfolios during technology risk assessments and rationalization procedures.

[Read more: A white paper on how to integrate ITFM and EA]

The Apptio-LeanIX integration also fosters collaboration between business and IT stakeholders when evaluating cloud transformation strategies and facilitates:

  • More opportunities to identify which applications are viable candidates to be moved to the cloud
  • Tailored cloud migration plans that incorporate the overall technical fit, functional fit, cost, and workload of applications
  • Easier ways to track the status of cloud transformation projects and associated costs

As well, by utilizing the LeanIX-Apptio integration, users of both platforms can improve their application portfolio management efforts by:

  • Reducing IT complexity
  • Identifying gaps in the application portfolio to enhance investment decisions
  • Increasing visibility into historical cost data

EA and ITFM resources

For a more concrete understanding of the LeanIX-Apptio integration, I invite you to look at a number of free downloadable resources on the subject listed below. As well, if you'd like discuss any of this together, I'd be happy to do so either in person or online at our LeanIX EA Connect Days conference.  

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