Visualize: Application Costs
Rahul Jaitly is vice president of Global Technology Strategy, Standards, and PMO at Universal Music Group. A&G asked him a few questions about visualizing IT finance information at UMG.
A&G: What does the visualization of application cash flows tell you?
RJ: It provides us with an overall view of spending trends for a given business function (e.g., HR, finance, Internet activity, etc.) broken down by its constituent parts—namely the applications and/or project activities themselves. This is used as part of our application and project portfolio management processes to ensure our road map for change (from a cost perspective in this case) in any given business function is actually occurring.
A&G: Who at UMG gets value from this kind of graphic?
RJ: All relevant stakeholders: executive management, IT senior management, corporate/IT finance management, and individual business sponsors/owners. Essentially, all members of the IT governance structure.
A&G: We’ve disguised the application names to protect the guilty. What happened to cause British Shorthair to spike in Q2 FY2005?
RJ: The spike in this case reflects a significant increase in spending due to an enhancement to the existing application (i.e., a project upgrade/update). Following on from this, you can see that spending remains at a constant lower level reflecting the application entering into a support and maintenance phase.
A&G: Any advice for IT organizations looking to build the technology strategy competency?
RJ: First, create a solid charter stating, purpose, mission, values, goals, etc. and obtain support for this initiative from executive management. Second, assemble an optimally sized multi-skilled group of bright IT people with good linkage into all facets of IT and key business units. Third, begin the journey—start small by focusing on a welldefined, well-bounded pain point to achieve early success. Finally, continuously ensure that technology strategy aligns or influences business strategy as necessary. The above is, in my opinion, synonymous with establishing an enterprise architecture practice.