Concept of Showback

In organizations, IT departments often incur significant costs for services, infrastructure, and operations. The showback process provides an itemized overview of these costs to internal departments or business units. Unlike chargeback, where costs are actually billed to departments, showback merely displays the costs, fostering awareness and accountability.

Purpose of Showback

The primary goal of showback is to:

  • Increase Transparency: It ensures that business units understand the cost of IT resources they consume.
  • Promote Accountability: By seeing their consumption, departments might be more prudent in resource usage.
  • Support Decision-Making: Knowing costs can aid departments in making informed decisions regarding resource utilization.
  • Encourage Cost Efficiency: Awareness of costs can lead to efforts to optimize and reduce unnecessary expenditures.

Showback vs. Chargeback

Though both aim for cost transparency, they differ in approach:

  • Showback: Presents the costs associated with IT services to departments without actually charging them. It’s more about awareness.
  • Chargeback: Implements an actual internal billing mechanism, where departments are billed based on their IT consumption. It’s about financial accountability.

Implementing a Showback Model

Successful showback implementation requires:

  • Detailed Tracking: Accurately track resource usage by each department.
  • Clear Communication: Ensure that the purpose and details of showback are clearly communicated to all stakeholders.
  • Regular Reporting: Provide periodic showback reports, ensuring up-to-date awareness.
  • Feedback Mechanism: Allow departments to query or challenge reported figures for clarity and accuracy.


While showback doesn’t entail actual billing, its role in fostering transparency and accountability is crucial. By providing visibility into IT costs, organizations can promote more responsible resource consumption and better budget management.

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