Friday, June 25, 2010

Postcards from the IT Financial Management Association

This week marks the third time I have been invited to speak at the ITFMA World of IT Financial Management conference.  This is a really amazing/unique conference, created nearly single-handedly by Terry Quinlan, their Executive Director. Quick overview:
The IT Financial Management Association (ITFMA) was established in 1988 and founded the IT Financial Management profession at that time. ITFMA is the only association dedicated to this profession and provides a comprehensive education program on the principles and practices used to financially manage Information Technology (IT) organizations. ITFMA is the national leader in the education of IT financial management professionals and the only recognized provider of certification in the various financial disciplines of IT financial management.
The attendees are largely non-technical, but are comprised of financial managers, controllers, project managers and purchasing managers all in the IT field mainly with F1000 companies.

And what sets this conference apart for me is the fact that 90% of the topics of conversation are non-technical. It's not about the speeds-and-feeds, but rather about the project management, cost accounting, charge-back, managerial and regulatory issues facing IT.  It gave me pause that, while technologists focus on keeping the electrons moving, there are also folk who keep the paper and the money moving.

On particularly illustrative conversation I had in mind -- with an IT financial manager from the State of Oregon, who oversees the state's shared/hosted IT infrastructure.  They were promised by a large national consulting company that through consolidation of equipment and data centers, the state would save tons of $$ and reduce the managerial headcount as well. As it was described to me, the technical consolidation was largely a success, but the consultant failed to accurately account for the business and managerial staffs associated with the IT. And over time, while the square feet of data center shrank, the overall IT staffing continued to grow. Lest we commit the sin of assuming that all of IT is technologists.

Overall, the ITFMA is a "must-attend" -- especially now that IT is going through such large changes as data center consolidation, virtualization, automation and cloud computing. All of these have non-linear impacts on IT finances, and all can cause disruptive effects on topics like capital forecasting, project management, expense vs  investment projections, etc. Not to mention the newer issues caused by cloud computing such as data ownership, security, operations control, etc.

The event is a relative bargain to attend, and Terry always finds classic, historic venues for the conferences.

No comments: