Becoming a TBMA is a very exciting time for anyone entering this community. The caliber of the framework, the council, and the companies all seem fascinating. My journey with TBM and Apptio started in the summer of 2014 and until this day it still excites me. Through the journey I’ve learned a few things that are imperative to a successful adoption of TBM. These are the tips that I would share to someone starting their TBM Journey:
Many companies can justify their need to adopt TBM and Apptio for their organizations. Their success lies on an issue that is extremely compelling and needs immediate attention. What many companies struggle with is trying to address many or all the needs they have in the initial roll-out. The first step is to identify all the needs and prioritize by what is most crucial for the organization. Understanding the most important issue your organization will bring you the largest return on your investment. If you can successfully deliver a solution to that issue then you will increase the appetite to invest further in TBM and Apptio. Trying to tackle multiple issues reduces quality and confidence in the validity of the information and prevents greater insights.
To have your first win it is important to identify people that will champion your efforts. It may be one or multiple people that have the drive and influence help you gather data and resources for your effort. Those champions will do as Jim Collins once said “Start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” They will help make sure you have the right resources available to you. If you can successfully deliver on your first win, then more champions will arise to help promote and facilitate additional solutions. As you make some wins be sure to communicate them to your stakeholders to ensure continual engagement.
As a TBMA progresses they may be presented with business cases that may be very complicated in nature. Just as I did the first instinct may be to over think and possibly complicate the solution. In most cases, the solution lies in simplicity. Apptio’s robust TBM solution can handle complicated models, but keeping it simple and easy to digest helps performance and helps easily explain your methodologies for allocations/modeling/reports. There are thousands of ways you can approach a solution. There is no right or wrong way, but spending too much time to get it “right” can prolong the time for getting feedback. Stakeholders are your audience and they will tell you what they have appetite for and they appreciate simple explanations and will tell you what works and what doesn’t!
Lastly, I want to emphasize a Japanese phrase that originated from the Toyota Production System, Genchi Genbutsu, that I feel applies to our TBM journeys. The phrase Genchi Genbutsu suggests that in order to truly understand a problem you must go to the place where the situation is. As TBMAs we forget to look outside of our data and may frequently rely on others to provide guidance in building our models. Without really going to the people who make up our data and see their processes for tracking it, we lose important insights. Insights that are genuine and most importantly from the source.