Do You Have IT Awareness?

You might assume that most IT decision-makers have a firm awareness of their IT assets and how those assets are used and provide value to the enterprise. You would be wrong. Kovarus-survey

A recent survey of IT professionals from systems integrator Kovarus, Inc. indicates that less than four in 10 (38%) respondents specifically make their investment decisions based on true alignment and value to the business. This means that for more than six in 10 IT professionals critical decisions are being made without the correct business insight, putting the IT department at a disadvantage with other better-informed business units.

IT Pros Lag in Awareness, Capabilities
The survey also shows that large percentages of IT professionals are lagging not only in awareness of their IT assets, but even of the capabilities to gain awareness. For example, 40% of IT professionals were not aware of their IT assets – a slightly higher percentage than make investment decisions based on actual business value and alignment. Thus a large portion of the IT budgets at these organizations are not allocated for correctly, leading to inflated costs.

Especially as many companies place their IT organizations in open competition with third-party service providers, this type of unnecessarily increased cost can be deadly to the viability of an in-house IT unit.

Furthermore, about two thirds (65%) of survey respondents said that they did not have the time, practices or tools to collect information on the utilization of their IT investments. That is, they did not have the capability of determining performance and capacity used on daily basis. Kovarus advises this situation is especially damaging to virtualization efforts (and who isn’t virtualizing or planning to virtualize systems these days?), as collective capacity needs cannot be determined, which can lead to environments being overconfigured by a factor of as much as 15.

And 44% of respondents surveyed currently have a “mish mash” of technology solutions in their data centers: most of the rest have defined some standards along with consistent purchasing practices. A technology mish mash can result in added risks and costs due to increased complexity and difficulty in achieving potential economies of scale that virtualization can deliver. At a minimum, Kovarus recommends that IT executives define IT standards based on unique internal business needs and enact strong governance to ensure best practices are followed.

Don’t Get Left Behind
The advice here for IT executives is simple: don’t get left behind when it comes to having complete and detailed awareness of your IT environment and how it relates to the business as a whole. If senior management simply refuses to give you the time or resources to conduct a thorough IT assessment, devote personal time and resources if necessary. The positive impact on your career will be worth it.

Also remember that selectively outsourcing certain IT functions – such as low-level routine tasks as well as highly specialized areas that require costly internal hires with specialized skills – can strengthen your department’s overall performance and should be as a complementary, rather than adversarial, move.

The phrase “ignorance is bliss” is credited to 18th century English poet Thomas Gray. Today’s IT executives can certainly enjoy the poetry of earlier centuries, but should probably turn to more current and better-informed sources for advice on their jobs.

This survey was conducted by TeleVerde on behalf of Kovarus. The sample included North American CIOs, IT directors and IT managers.