Many IT organizations are working to manage down the cost of operations and maintenance of IT assets. By establishing a policy for IT hardware and software standards and reconciling against the current installed base, organizations can determine their gap against their target standards. With this knowledge it’s not hard to derive some reasonably accurate operational and maintenance cost impacts and determine where the best opportunities for improvement lie. While this may sound simple, most organizations don’t have these target standards in place.
Organizations that don’t know their exposure to these costs have a tremendous opportunity to reduce IT spend and improve resource utilization through establishing standards for data center hardware, operating systems, database software and other infrastructure software that fall into the organization’s top 15 to 25 software license titles. For many of our clients today no effective policy exists; for those with a policy, it is not uncommon to find that their currency level is less than 50% of their target.
These costs go far beyond just hard-dollar maintenance spend for active IT assets. Often maintenance is paid for on hardware and software that is not even in service. Additional cost and complexity comes in maintaining customer support and system engineering skill sets for an overly broad range of software and tools. System administrators and incident and problem managers need to understand issues that can be related to multiple versions of hardware and software in combination. Patching, compliance, troubleshooting and training competency must be supported. These result in unnecessary complexity, more integration than would be required, higher incident rates and more complex identification of true root causes to problems. At an even deeper level – strategically critical efforts to simplify and automate core IT activities can be hamstrung or even stopped by portfolio complexity.
Managing standards effectively has a major impact on both the cost and quality of IT service. Having the appropriate standards management process in place supported by enabling technology is key to significant cost gains and improvements in service quality.
How is your organization doing in creating target standards and managing to them effectively? There is real operational and financial benefit to taking the IT Asset Management (ITAM) challenge on.
About the author
Anthony (Tony) Iannetta, Client Principal – Evergreen Systems
Tony possesses more than 30 years of experience in IT asset management, service management and enabling technologies along the journey from asset to configuration management. He has worked with numerous Fortune 1000 companies in developing ITAM and ITSM strategy; governance; and people, process and technology design and implementation. Recent projects include creating the strategy and road map for a Fortune 200 manufacturing company for IT Asset Management for the end user and the data center environment. Tony is ITIL Foundation Certified and earned his Bachelors in Business Administration from Cleveland State University.