It’s budget time and you’ve submitted your meticulously detailed spreadsheet for first round review.  You’ve built in room to replace that aging system, ramped up storage costs for all that data that everyone holds onto, and planned a bunch of improvements to hopefully get your staff to unplug most evenings and weekends.

But you know how things will go… the way they do every, single, year.

Most of the time, people seem to accept that IT is an expensive necessity.  But when budget time rolls around, many CIOs feel like it’s hunting season.

First there’s a blanket cut… “find a way to reduce costs by 10%”.  Then they start scrutinizing new expenses.  Why do you spend so much on infrastructure?  Isn’t all that security and compliance overkill?  Why aren’t all these applications in the cloud?  And before you know it, you’re defending things that THEY asked for in the first place!

There is a way to beat the budget-cycle blues and get the investment you need.  It is not a revolutionary approach, but a fundamental business tool.  It helps reduce cost, get more funding, change uncontrolled shadow IT, and of course, presents a budget so everyone knows exactly why they should be investing in your IT plan.

In addition, technology users will actually be happier about the service they get and the outcomes of their IT spend.

So what is the key?  Cost Transparency.  The ability to communicate to all stakeholders, in terms that they understand, exactly what you spend money on, why, and what would happen if your spending is cut.

Yes, I’ve heard the response “but that’s accounting, we’re IT”.  Wrong.  IT is business and business is finance.  There’s no way around it, so the sooner we learn to speak the language of finance the more we’ll accomplish.

This article is the first in a series of articles by David Cannon, ITIL® v3 author and ITIL® 4 Lead Editor, that will show you how to use Cost Transparency to change your professional life and your standing in the organization to report the value of IT.