Cover Your Assets; Use IT Asset Life-Cycle Management To Control IT Costs

The IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) organization is no different from any other business function. It employs a multitude of assets to create corporate value. Traditionally, however, I&O’s ability to manage its IT assets has been weak, from both a financial control and an IT asset life-cycle (ITALM) perspective.

Far too often, an I&O organization lacks the necessary controls to avoid IT wastage or remain compliant with software licensing or regulatory requirements. Thankfully (or unfortunately), to date most I&O organizations have been able to get by. But the-times-they-are-a-changing, as do-more-with-less efficiency mandates are prioritized, vendor software audits increase, and the business places greater focus on what IT costs and the value that internal IT delivers. Something has got to give and I&O leaders can step up their game and respond to these internal and external pressures by improving asset management processes to ensure that IT assets are leveraged to maximize the value generated for their parent business.

A recent Forrester Report – Updated Q4 2011: Cover Your Assets; Use IT Asset Life-Cycle Management To Control IT Costs – offers advice on where ITALM can help and what I&O leaders need to do.

Where Can ITALM Help?

The technical, financial, and service-related information available from an ITALM program can give I&O leaders the ability to improve both efficiency and effectiveness and to optimize its investment (or divestment) in its asset base. It provides a comprehensive view of the resources feeding IT service delivery and an assurance that best use is made of said assets. By investing in ITALM people, process, and technology, I&O leaders can cut costs, reduce risk, and improve the quality of IT services by performing the following activities better:

  • Managing costs.
  • Improving governance.
  • Mitigating risk.
  • Ensuring compliance.
  • Making IT green.
  • Improving organizational efficiency.
  • Delivering higher-quality IT service.
  • Better aligning IT services with business needs to make better decisions.

What Do I&O Leaders Need To Do?

A successful ITALM program requires many critical success criteria to be in place. Forrester recommends that I&O leaders get started by focusing on these seven key criteria:

  1. Involvement of all business stakeholders early.
  2. A repeatable process from start to finish.
  3. A data model that is flexible and extensive.
  4. ITALM positioned as a core business process and business enabler.
  5. Integrity and accuracy-checking mechanisms.
  6. Measurement of efficiency.
  7. No fear of what you will discover.

In terms of the last bullet, undoubtedly most organizations will uncover IT wastage. Rather than dwelling on past mistakes, proudly communicate your successes in light of improved asset management efficiency and effectiveness.

Remember, it's not just your assets that are on the line.

Related blogs include:

“Run IT As A Business?” Do You Really Know What This Means?

IT Value, Like Beauty, Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Software Asset Management Part Deux – “Try Harder”

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Smartphones and tablets will be the challenge

This months Economist special report "Beyond the PC" forecast that this year smartphone and tablet shipments will outstrip laptops and desktops for the first time, and that the BYOD phenomenon has increased 10% with Accenture staff spending 4.25 million on their own devices for work alone.

This is the challenge to prepare for, if you can't manage your software asset management on PCs today how will you ever manage roaming charges, tariffs, unauthorised apps, and loss of corporate data on your smartphones and tablets.

Totally agree ...

Mobility and BYOD will offer far more challenges than I&O organizations are prepared for.

ALM Is A Part Of Capacity Management

Hi Stephen,

Thanks for your article. In it, you mention seven (7) things that I&O Leaders need to do. Number 4, specifically, states that I&O Leaders should ensure that: "ITALM positioned as a core business process and business enabler."

In my own experience, I've found that IT Asset Life Cycle Management (ALM or ITALM), if done correctly, is part of a bigger picture process called "Capacity Management," where all leaders, like Development, Engineering, Resourcing, Contracting, Purchasing and I&O leaders (just to mention a few) all participate in managing all critical financial entities, such as IT Resources, Contracts, Licenses, Software, Facilities and Infrastructure Assets, throughout all phases of their Life Cycles. In other words, anything that is financially important is managed throughout all areas of Delivery and Operations.

Capacity Management helps match Demand with Supply and helps provide a clear picture of what exists, what will need to exist, and what will go away. And, more importantly, it does so across "all" Operating Environments, not just Production, where most I&O leaders seem to only focus on.

Experienced IT leaders know that ITALM, by itself, will be a very limited view into IT costs, as it's only a small piece of a much bigger puzzle that includes Service Costs, Resource Costs, Purchasing Costs, License Costs, and so much more.

However, knowing what Assets you own, who is accountable for them, where they are at all times, and how they're being used is a great start that most CIOs would appreciate. It would be valuable if most I&O leaders just kept accurate inventories of anything and everything that is coming into, leaving, and exists in their Operating Environments. I'm amazed at how many I&O leaders just don't know what they manage. I'm even more amazed that their leaders let them get away with not knowing what they manage.

Anyhow, I hope this adds value. Thanks, again, for the article.

My Best,

Frank Guerino
The International Foundation for Information Technology (IF4IT)