Apptio, a pioneer in the technology business management (TBM) field, welcomed some 1,000-plus in-person attendees to its annual conference November 7–9, 2022, in Austin, Texas. Now years in the running, the company launched TBM and the Technology Business Management Council, a quasi-user group and think tank for viewing, understanding, and analyzing IT cost data. The company was acquired by deep-pocket investor Vista Equity Partners in 2019 and is expanding into new areas.

In May 2019, Apptio acquired Cloudability, a player in the cloud cost management tools market (for more on this, see The Forrester Wave™: Cloud Cost Management And Optimization, Q3 2022). Cloudability is integrated into the platform and includes SaaS management and optimization. This isn’t a software asset management or license management tool per se, but it tracks license costs and usage, which can be linked to your SAM tool. Software asset managers (SAMs) will want to know about this powerful tool suite, and if your company is using Apptio, at a minimum, you’ll want to build a bridge to the team managing Apptio — and to the SAM data. Here’s another opportunity to increase your visibility and value.

You’d expect to hear a lot about optimization, cost reduction, and the cloud at a conference covering IT financial management. For many companies, cloud costs are unmanaged and rapidly increasing, and the goal is to identify spending and get things under control. The explosive growth and adoption of finops and the FinOps Foundation demonstrate that many organizations worldwide are considering and creating teams to manage cloud costs. Often, we see work supported by a central, technically focused best-practice group. FinOps is operations- and cost-centered and doesn’t focus on software licensing, compliance, or license management concerns. This area is booming with interest, and SAMs will want to partner with finops centers of excellence to gather cloud cost and usage data. And if your organization does not have a finops or cloud cost management team, you’re leaving money on the table by not managing this rapidly growing cost center.

At a minimum, using a cloud cost management tool can bring significant returns and a quick payback, said the panel of experts at the TBM conference in a discussion on cloud cost management trends. Forrester Senior Analyst Tracy Woo (see her Now Tech: Hybrid Cloud Management, Q2 2022) said companies are missing an opportunity by not managing cloud spend sooner. Keeping up with the degree of innovation is challenging, and Woo recommends implementing cloud management as part of the move to public cloud. Ashley Hromatko, director of operations and chief of staff at the FinOps Foundation, said training and education are needed to help IT architects, engineers, and executives understand why managing rapidly shifting cloud usage patterns is so important. Not only will it help pave the way to a more secure, less expensive future with reduced risk, but it’s a good time to reassess and clean up past mistakes. Plus, it’s a step toward integrating cloud, data center, and SaaS license and cost management.

SAMs have a big role in this process, and it would be wise to update your skills in cloud cost management and take the lead in bridging the licensing and compliance gap with the cloud cost management team.