IT Asset Management: Are You Taking Painkillers or Vitamins?

Here are a few suggested ‘vitamins’ to take that will create a healthier, more cost efficient and more powerful ITAM platform in your organization.

Phil Merson is Director, ITAM Specialist for Ivanti.

What does it mean to be proactive? For humans, it can mean watching your diet and going to the gym to encourage wellness and physical fitness. On the opposite side, being reactive might mean having to take medications for an ailment that surfaces like a sudden cold.  In asset management, we see too many enterprises having to take the reactive painkiller approach due to a lack of a unified vision of what software and hardware assets they have across their enterprise.

Wellness, or being proactive in IT asset management (ITAM) requires you to thoroughly know what assets you have, to take, if you will, a knowledge ‘vitamin.’ This preventive approach will help your team avoid crisis situations. For example, you find out a software contract is up for renewal and realize you do not have complete information with which to make an informed decision. You fast track a software vendor audit to evaluate renewal. That’s the painkiller reactive approach which is sure to cost you money in having to make decisions on the fly.

Here are a few suggested ‘vitamins’ to take that will create a healthier, more cost efficient and more powerful ITAM platform in your organization:

Think Longer Term. Determine a project review cycle and stick to it. For example, a 12-month review cycle will give you a chance to take a strategic look at assets, rather than the tactical, last-minute approach to audits and renewal.

Avoid Vendor Lock-In.  If you’re thinking of moving to a subscription-based model for some of your contracts, you need to give yourself adequate runway to examine software licenses. Changing from a lock-in, multi-year contract can be advantageous, but first you need to know exactly what you have in that contract.

Tighten Up Budget Control. Do you think you’re spending too much money on your hardware and software assets? You’re probably right. Only about 36 percent of the software that businesses pay for is actually used. That’s a whopping 64 percent that enterprises have paid for and literally shelved. It’s another motivation to adhere to review cycles to uncover where that estimated 64 percent lies, and what licenses should very likely go away when renewal time occurs.

Track Software Performance More Clearly.  Discovering and optimizing your software licenses is key to effective ITAM. You need to track usage and identify areas where your IT assets can work harder for you. Using available optimization technology you can reclaim unused licenses and reallocate software to maximize the performance and value of your software.

Get a Grip on Hardware. Similarly, using asset management technology, you can manage the life of your IT devices from purchase through disposal. This is another great example of the vitamin approach. You need to be able to anticipate and schedule hardware refreshes with thorough intelligence as to what needs to be purchased, updated and maintained. IT can then have a better view into unsupported applications, ones ripe for migration. This enables IT to be strategic, to plan ahead, and to avoid hasty ‘painkiller’ purchasing decisions.

Improve Team Integration. IT doesn’t work in a vacuum when deciding on asset investments, on evaluating performance, or on executing IT transformation initiatives set by the C-suite. Working with procurement teams, finance and technical teams are all part of effective ITAM.  Having thorough knowledge of your hardware and software assets puts you in a position of being a more effective contributor in discussions about future purchases and what new assets will support IT transformation.

Support Business Optimization

ITAM teams should also take heed of a new report from Gartner. They note that cost optimization in most organizations is now largely focused on business optimization rather than cost cutting. Survey respondents revealed that their top criterion for selecting cost optimization priorities is business value or benefits realization, rather than the biggest or fastest cost reductions. According to Gartner, "the survey findings highlight how cost optimization has become a business-focused, continuous discipline that drives spending and cost reduction, while maximizing business value.”

The survey presents an opportunity for ITAM to support business optimization through the best, and most thorough use of assets, and importantly, to have a clear view into what assets can bring the most value in supporting new digital and IT transformation imperatives.

Unify Your Approach

Painkillers versus vitamins. The latter helps you to control cost, mitigate risk of audits, and support transformation initiatives across all IT environments. The former indicates you have less than an optimum view into all your IT assets and very likely are wasting budget due to under-used hardware and software. It also means ITAM performance is less than optimal.

Step back and think about your current ITAM structure. Consider whether you and your team have sufficiently unified asset management with other teams and with workflow processes that enable you to fully realize the investment in these assets. Ask yourself if you are possibly among the enterprises using less than 50 percent of your software investment. If so, start now to improve ITAM and be the source of vitamins, not painkillers!

Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Informa.

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