It’s A Data-Driven Approach to Manage Outsourcing for This International Firm

Michigan-based logistics firm Con-way has taken an information-driven approach to keep tabs on which service provider handles which data assets, according to chief financial Chris Levitt.

Levitt’s department is responsible for, among other things, managing the six different vendors that supply the $5.3 billion company with the servers, personal computers and software that power its infrastructure.

“At Con-way, we’ve become a governance team,” Levitt said. “We wanted to know how we were consuming IT,” he says. “One of the first questions that came to me was, do we have confidence what they’re charging us for across the infrastructure? That the server counts are right? That the storage is right?”

Putting all these pieces together proved to be quite a challenge, until Levitt decided it’s time to start thinking outside the box. He set a goal to gain more visibility into his service providers’ activities, and began looking for the right software for the job.

Con-way started looking into solutions from digital asset management firms such as Blazenet, Digital Fuel and Apptio; eventually settling on the latter’s IT Service Costing platform.

Today the software enables the company to keep track of data it couldn’t handle manually before. Total cost of ownership can now be assessed more accurately thanks to the combination of reporting, visualization and ERP capabilities that are included in Service Costing.

“Every other part of the business has its own ERP [enterprise resource planning] capability that integrates multiple functions, processes and information,” Levitt said. “Just like the transformation the business went through with ERP systems, converting spreadsheets, updating processes, deconstructing and reconstructing, viewing the business through a new lens — that’s what Apptio is doing for IT.”