Show backs equal Green backs. The secret formula for waste and cost reduction

By Phil Godwin, VP of Sales, Clear Technologies

My career in technology sales started in the mid 90’s. Over the years, it feels like I have had the same conversation hundreds of times around cost, utilization, and waste. The bottom-line of each conversation is the same: a disconnect exists between business users and the IT cost centers.

Charge backs. When engaged in one of these discussions last week, it hit me. The IT manager said something like “These guys keep asking for more and have no idea what it costs…” I responded with my standard, “You must not use charge backs” knowing full well his shop, like many other IT shops, do not use charge backs.  Using “charge backs” is (of course) the answer to this dilemma. But, this phrase, is an all too often overused, but a seldom accomplished talking point. Most IT shops like throw around the phrase, but few actually have a chargeback system in place! But why?

Light Bulb Moment. After giving him the standard “solution” phrase, what hit me was “his end users have no idea what it costs”. Then, I shared a similar experience I had a few months earlier with my 15 year old son. It started when he sent me a text saying “I want a Range Rover”. Of course the responding text was “haha do you have any idea how much that cost?”. He had no idea he was asking for a $100,000 car. Once I pointed that out to him he completely understood. I realized then that all I had done was show him the cost. The discussion then quickly changed to a more realistic one. He still needs a car but not a $100,000 car.

Show backs. After sharing my sons story, I asked if he shows business users how much IT resources they are using and an estimate of the cost. Thirty minutes later we invented a new phrase to replace “charge backs.” We called it “show backs”.  In organizations, especially when it comes to IT-related issues, it is normal for business users to ask for more, without thinking about the cost.  However, by simply pointing out the obvious, I believe there is a better way to
reduce cost and waste in IT.

You can’t “get” what you can’t “see”. The original purpose for the meeting was to talk about how Visual Storage Intelligence® (VSI) can be used for storage reporting on demand. However, in addition to inventing a phrase and “philosophizing” about life, we figured out that some the standard reports in Visual Storage Intelligence® are perfect to depict “show backs”.

Story book ending. Everyone likes to hear a story and Visual Storage Intelligence is doing just that.  It is taking the facts that everyone knows and no one looks at and creates a story through visual reports.  Together, during our inventive and productive meeting, we started to believe we found a better way to communicate storage costs with business users.


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