If you’re a CIO or CTO these days, “relaxing” is not part of your job description. You must constantly enhance your technical strategy in order for the enterprise to keep up and get ahead. Deliver and develop faster. Become more agile. Improve the customer experience. The quest to be better never stops.
This is why organizations continually adopt new technologies, or swap out one for another. And while you may enjoy how those new tools increase productivity and profits, there’s a frustrating flip side: The extra resources make it more complex to manage everything, be it software, hardware, data, networks, and other technical assets.
To get a grip on the problem, it’s wise for companies to implement a formal IT Asset Management (ITAM) process. ITAM not only allows you to manage the current technical tools in your arsenal, it also provides visibility into the untapped potential of those assets.
But ITAM isn’t as easy as listing everything out on a spreadsheet. You must also understand how each asset contributes to, or potentially hinders, a specific business objective. You have to know if the asset meets current regulations. You have to know what you’re paying for the asset. You have to be aware of potential vulnerabilities. Yes – there’s a lot more to keep track of than what types of software, hardware, and databases are part of your technical landscape.
To better manage your assets, you need to take on an asset management perspective. Begin by considering:
– What assets have you deployed?
– Where do these assets reside in the organization?
– What are monthly and annuals expenses for vendors?
– How do you handle software licensing?
– Have compliance audits ever resulted in fines or disputes around licensing?
Also identify the types of people that use specific assets. What are their roles, and what is their intended purpose for accessing the technology? If employees don’t use specific tools as much as anticipated, you may have an investment that isn’t delivering an acceptable return. Pay attention to employee roles and usage patterns – as much as anything, these measurements will point the way to where you should and shouldn’t invest in new solutions.
ITAM isn’t a one-person task, so create a committee where individuals have specific responsibilities tied to their area of IT expertise. Some organizations bring in a third party to carry out ITAM, yet doing so internally provides you with more control, and allows you to fully grasp the pertinent issues that affect asset management.
That said, since there are never absolutes with any technology or business decision, it can make sense to outsource your ITAM project depending on your specific circumstances. The key is to follow a coherent selection process for choosing the right vendor. From the start, develop a comprehensive set of requirements that go beyond the wish list from IT. Also include recommendations from finance, procurement, legal, and other departments that have significant technology requirements.
Yet the most airtight set of requirements is useless if those assets aren’t secure. As part of the ITAM process, look at your hardware, software, and other assets with a cybersecurity perspective. Document the exact location of all of your technology, as well as how it’s configured.
The last part of the ITAM process is to accurately assess exactly how much to investment in the project. Be sure that your requirements drive the cost of the initiative rather than arbitrarily developing a scope of work. It’s not so much about being cost effective as it is about making a smart decision.
We won’t sugarcoat it – ITAM can be challenging to implement. But when carried out properly, ITAM allows your enterprise to gain complete control of IT investments. And with that control you’re able to make more prudent choices in the future. You might even be able to relax for a few minutes.