Effectively managing IT assets can directly boost a company’s bottom line by avoiding overpaying for, overbuying and underutilizing IT, as well as by optimizing IT purchases. Yet data from sourcing advisory firm ISG indicates many organizations are not managing their IT assets in a way that allows them to achieve maximum benefit.
According to the ISG white paper “Good Data is a Must,” more than 70% of organizations experience billing “surprises” with asset invoices. The resources needed to reconcile these gaps in IT asset information are diverted from asset management. In addition, periodic comprehensive IT asset inventories are of limited value due to their complexity, length of time needed to perform and short timeframe they actually cover.
Ineffective Asset Management Poses Real Risks
ISG analysis also shows that the risks of ineffective IT asset management go beyond potentially damaging the bottom line. Companies run higher risk of penalties and litigation due to IT systems and related processes not following guidelines or regulations. Improper tracking of IT assets that reside outside direct corporate control (such as employee-owned mobile devices) jeopardizes end point as well as network security and increases exposure to data loss or compromise.
Consumption Management – A Step beyond Managing Configuration
ISG recommends that companies go beyond the constraints of typical configuration management databases (CMDBs) that simply store transactional data with minimal and often inaccurate reconciliation, and also invest in consumption management tools. Consumption management solutions augment CMDBs provide visibility into asset information across sources, fix the root cause of quality issues and provide independent validation of data feeds and integration logic.
In addition, consumption management solutions should include a reconciliation engine capable of providing accurate transparency at the record level. This allows validation of baselines and comprehensive change data needed for accurate inventories of IT assets. Solutions should utilize sophisticated algorithms, processes, rules and libraries to ensure accuracy of results. Thus multiple systems of record are merged into a single “trusted source of truth” from which all engaged parties can operate, helping ensure that IT contracts are fair and practical for all parties involved.
It’s All in the Timing
According to ISG, there are several points in the outsourcing lifecycle where consumption management can be brought in. These include pre-RFP to build a baseline, during transition to track asset support and transfer to the new supplier, and post-contract to manage a baseline for use in tracking SLAs, KPIs, etc.
Specific Areas of Consumption Management Application
Consumption management can be applied to specific areas of the business as well as during specific times. These areas include automated data collection and inventory validation, ensuring server backup/monitoring is performed properly and on time, security/risk assessment, consolidation of hardware asset databases and validation of information which identify opportunities to optimize assets by elimination, consolidation or further virtualization. No matter what area high-level IT asset management is applied to, the elimination of “surprises” and creation of a single, reliable source of data can only reduce risk and spending related to IT while boosting the profitability of dollars that are spent.