By day, I help enterprises implement Technology Business Management (TBM) as a solution for managing their IT spend. By night—or rather by early morning—I train for triathlons. Over time, I’ve come to realize the similarities between the two.
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The first leg of most triathlons is the swim. No matter the length, the swim is what many people say deters them from ever attempting a triathlon. The cold water can be quite a shock to the system! In some ways, this is similar to the initial steps of an organized TBM journey. Collecting data and getting it loaded into a cost model can seem like a daunting task. And though TBM software, like Apptio’s suite of Software-as-a-Service cost-transparency applications, offers the advantages of standardization, the process rigor may take some getting used to. With training, swimming can be a positive experience, and the same is true for working with data in the TBM model. Jump into your sea of cost data or stand on the dock and watch your competitors swim away. They’ll be on their bikes soon!
In this phase of the race, a well-engineered machine can provide competitive advantage. But, while it’s important to know what each of the 22-plus gears on a competitive bicycle can do, it’s more important to understand the process and timing for using them. The bicycle will only function to the extent the cyclist commands it. In the TBM triathlon, technology is a powerful engine that helps you cover the miles, but the TBM processes (and your legs) are what allow for successful, sustained progression toward the finish line.
You’re almost there, and now is the measure of your true grit. The only thing between you and the finish line is the commitment to crossing it. During the last stage of a triathlon, you significantly reduce your reliance on technology, aside from perhaps a watch and a pair of shoes. The focus now is at a higher level: on people cheering for you and on the deliberate process of placing one foot in front of the other. What becomes critical at this stage is to keep sight of what you set out to do, regardless of the circumstances. Recall your goals and objectives in this part of the journey. Be mindful of the accomplishments you’ve already made and those you still wish to achieve.
My father, a 59-year-old marathoner, once told me to never look down while running. Keep your head up and your vision forward. Once you reach the finish line—or with TBM, your first set of goals—use that positive energy and momentum to help extend your enterprise’s commitment to TBM and to explore new areas for improvement. Once you’ve achieved IT transformation, you can celebrate your achievement with new clarity and visibility for the business.
Interested in learning more about TBM as a strategy for IT transformation? Contact me to discuss further.About the author
Alex-Paul works closely with enterprise leaders, IT finance managers and IT business unit leaders to help implement the discipline of Technology Business Management (TBM) into their organizations and optimize their enterprise IT. He advises both commercial and public sector organizations on the adoption of TBM programs, designs fact-based analytical strategies and supports broader IT transformation initiatives. His development of a strategic TBM multi-dimensional framework addressing people, process, data, analytics, technology and strategy is part of ISG’s industry-leading set of market best practices and methodologies. His thought leadership has been featured in CIO Review, MiddleMarket Executive and the TBM Council’s book The Four Value Conversations CIOs Must Have with Their Businesses.