How Business Value Dashboards Are Making IT Budgeting Easier
With a business value dashboard, IT can become a valued partner to the business, determining which initiatives provide value and justifying their IT spend to business leaders.
In today’s budget-conscious IT world, business leaders increasingly demand that every capital expenditure have a clear justification, and that every initiative have a clear explanation of how value is being added. Unfortunately, the task hasn’t been made any easier for IT shops; mountains of IT data make it difficult to decide which metrics to show to decision makers, much less translate them into terms that they care about.
For this reason, business value dashboards (BVDs) are becoming integral tools in justifying IT spend to the business. Dashboards allow for a single set of operational metrics to encompass the entirety of enterprise IT. In reality, it’s business leaders who determine what is valuable in IT (sorry, IT leaders), and a BVD enables IT leaders to address the goals of the business so that both groups can work collaboratively. This not only makes IT operations visible, trackable, and more easily budgeted, but it helps IT to become a valuable partner in the business.
In a nutshell, dashboards are becoming popular because they enable IT professionals to determine how below-the-line metrics like CPU use and response times impact above-the-line metrics like sales, user experience, and long-term revenue gains. As Gartner research director Gary Spivak told TechTarget, “The challenge that faces our clients is that they are increasingly asked to prove what I&O contributes to business value.” Gartner believes that dashboards are an ideal technology for making that translation.
The key is not only mapping out one set of metrics, but visualizing them in a way that makes intuitive sense to stakeholders. While IT departments often pass along technical IT metrics to business leaders, that does little to promote understanding or engender support for IT initiatives. If IT performance or the success of a particular initiative is depicted in clear business terms, however, business leaders can become active participants in its progress.
For example, TeamQuest’s Vityl Dashboard takes IT and business data from data sources across your infrastructure and translates it into actionable insights that business leaders will intuitively be able to act on. By concentrating on connecting IT operations with business outcomes, tools like Vityl Dashboard connect the work and goals of your IT department with those of executives, allowing better communication and collaboration, and therefore, adding value to the business.
Of course, BVDs need to be comprehensive in their data collection and reporting in order to provide useful, simple metrics. A significant challenge for IT currently is the siloing of data, where it’s difficult to get legacy systems to “talk” to each other and meet in the middle. Thus, an effective dashboard has to be able to collect and standardize data from a wide variety of systems and operating languages. As we’ve said before, a great faucet can only work well when supported by great plumbing.
With confidence in a dashboard readout, it becomes simple for IT professionals justify their ongoing IT projects, as well as propose future initiatives. As purchasing decisions are ceded back to management (as they ultimately always are), they have a clear understanding about how projects will impact the business metrics that matter.
As I told TechTarget in a recent interview, dashboards should provide management with “ubiquitous access so that access to metrics is effortless.” With budgeting friction between business and IT reduced to a minimum, both parties can finally get on the same page.