IT Financial Transparency and VMware: Driving Innovation, Reducing Costs

As I mentioned in my last blog (IT Financial Transparency: Eyes Wide Open), we continue to improve the quality and detail of information we provide to customers as part of our ITaaS Financial Transparency journey. The ability to deliver more specific costing geared to individual customers, something I discussed in “eyes wide open”, also necessitated the creation of a new cost model that more accurately aligns with our service definitions and our expectations for creating a true Bill of IT.

In 2013, when we realized that we needed to redesign our cost model, we also decided to ask ourselves if we had the right technology solution to meet our future needs.  At that time we faced the choice of creating a new cost model in Apptio – the solution we had started with – or finding another solution that better fulfilled our requirements.

After careful consideration we decided that it made more sense to leverage VMware’s IT Business Management Suite as the technology platform that would take us into the future. There is a new case study available that discusses why we made the switch but essentially the reasons we chose VMware boiled down to the following:

  • Ease of use, adaptability – very strong cost modeling capabilities with excellent data capture and data management
  • Data continuity – we own the data and its hosted within our firewall (this wasn’t an option for us with Apptio)
  • Better strategic fit –  solution has solid integration with the other VMware tools we use such as vCenter Operations and vCloud Automation Center; these tools are important to our overall cloud strategy
  • Additional capabilities – the solution addresses Benchmarking, Vendor Management, Service Quality Metrics; which are important to our roadmap

Also, while not part of our criteria going in, as we progressed through our implementation, the support we received from VMware Professional Services was outstanding.

One of our main requirements for a technology platform was to be able to support having specific and granular information that increases business intelligence. To accomplish this we needed a comprehensive service costing solution that supported the need to look at the full IT services stack and to create an easily consumable Bill of IT that accounts for all costs in the IT Budget in a meaningful way.

Having a fine grained view of our IT services stack – from component to full service – allows our IT team to ask better questions and to work more effectively with our Line of Business partners in order to make joint decisions as to where and how we invest precious IT resources. We want to be able to make great decisions and deliver superior results and a strong ITBM solution helps us do that.

As times change, so should your IT Department and its approach to delivering value enhancing and cost justified services. As the demand for IT services grows faster than budgets,  better understanding and planning  is needed to align IT to your enterprise’s needs.  EMC has been on a journey for the past ~4 years to transform IT and to run IT as a business.  Increasing financial transparency has been a core tenet of this effort (check out our white paper).

Our focus on financial transparency has helped increase the percentage of our IT investments focused on growth and innovation from 23% to 42%.  Transparency has also been a key contributor to our ability to shift our spending on Enterprise wide projects (versus single function or business unit) from 42% to 76%.  The addition of VMware IT Business Management will help us to further automate the core processes necessary to sustain current results and to deliver even better results in the future.  Stay tuned!

About the Author: Neil Thibodeau