Financial Management - Costs
Direct versus indirect costs are those that are either: 1) clearly directly attributable to a specific service, versus 2) indirect costs that are shared among multiple services. These costs should be approached logically to first determine which line items are sensible to maintain, given the data available and the level of effort required. For example, hardware maintenance service components can be numerous and detailed, and it may not be of value to decompose them all for the purpose of assigning each to a line item cost element. Once the depth and breadth of cost components are appropriately identified, rules or policy to guide how costs are to be spread among multiple services may be required. In the hardware maintenance example, rules can be created so that a percentage of the maintenance is allocated to any related services equally, or allocation rules could be based on some logical unit of consumption. Perceived equality of consumption often drives such decisions.
Labour costs are another key expenditure requiring a decision to be made. This decision is similar to that of 'direct versus indirect' above, compounded by the complexity and accuracy of time tracking systems. If the capability to account for resources allocated across services is not available, then rules and assumptions must be created for allocation of these costs. In its simplest form, organizing personnel costs across financial centres based on a service orientation is a viable method for aligning personnel costs to services. Similarly, administration costs for all IT Services can be collected at a macro level within a financial centre, and rules created for allocation of this cost amongst multiple services.
Variable cost elements include expenditures that are not fixed, but which vary depending on things such as the number of users or the number of running instances. Decisions need to be made based on the ability to pinpoint services or service components that cause increases in variability, since this variability can be a major source of price sensitivity. Pricing variability over time can cause the need for rules to allow for predictability. Associating a cost with a highly variable service requires the ability to track specific consumption of that service over time in order to establish ranges. Predictability of that cost can be addressed through:
- Tiers - identifying price breaks where plateaus occur within a provider so that customers are encouraged to obtain scale efficiencies familiar to the provider.
- Maximum cost - prescribing the cost of the service based on the maximum level of variability. This would then most likely cause overcharging, but the business may prefer 'rebates' versus additional costs.
- Average cost - this involves setting the cost of the service based on historical averaging of the variability. It would leave some amount of overor under-charge to be addressed at the end of the planning cycle.
Other ITIL Processes
- Configuration Management
- Service Desk Management
- Incident & Problem Management
- Change Management
- Release Management