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IT Asset Management: The Enterprise Technology Blueprint that Drives Corporate Efficiency

IT Asset Management The Enterprise Technology Blueprint that Drives Corporate Efficiency

IT Asset Management The Enterprise Technology Blueprint that Drives Corporate Efficiency

As part of Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series—a collection of articles written by industry thought leaders in maturing software categories—Brian Adler, the Sr. Director of Cloud Market Strategy at Flexera, explains why IT asset management (ITAM) can be the blueprint that drives company efficiency.

IT asset management (ITAM), the business practice of tracking and accounting for an organization’s information technology assets, provides insights that help the organization manage expenses and secure its IT estate. ITAM functionally provides an enterprise technology blueprint detailing the exact state of the technology used to drive a business and optimize corporate efficiency.  

This type of enterprise technology blueprint is a system of insight into how a company uses its technology resources, including devices, installed software, SaaS, and cloud resources. It details how much technology exists in the IT estate (including the number and type of entitlements), how it is being used, and how efficiently it is leveraged. It also illustrates where there are areas for improvement. 

In an uncertain 2023, the top goal of many ITAM teams is to save money. Optimizing spend (across cloud, on-premises, and SaaS) is also a driving factor to improve budgets. However, the blueprint provided by ITAM also has a broader reach, including delivering value for initiatives related to security, IT service management (ITSM), planning, budgeting, regulatory requirements, environmental, social, and governance (ESG), enterprise architecture, and beyond. When ITAM is used with FinOps (the practice of cloud financial management), companies can optimize their IT estates and savings. Consider three core ways an effective ITAM practice can help drive corporate efficiency.  

1) Improve Visibility 

ITAM and FinOps provide comprehensive insights into IT spending. As found in the Flexera 2023 State of ITAM Report—based on a survey of 500 global ITAM, software asset management (SAM), and hardware asset management (HAM) professionals—a growing number of organizations have visibility into their IT estates, thanks to improvements in ITAM and FinOps processes and tools. While 39 percent of respondents have complete visibility into their IT assets, there’s room for improvement. The 61 percent who don’t yet have complete visibility into their IT estates are potentially missing important information that can influence business decisions and outcomes.  

Take, for example, the deployment and operation of Microsoft 365, the nearly ubiquitous software suite. It’s common today for organizations to run it on-premises and in a SaaS format. Efficient management of this particular asset—or any others that also run through hybrid deployments—is to have complete visibility into the on-premises and SaaS assets. Knowing your license posture of just one or the other is an incomplete—and ultimately costly—approach, as there’s often overlap, waste, and unnecessary expense that can’t be detected without complete visibility into the IT estate. 

2) Minimize Waste 

Unfortunately, and contrary to cost management efficiency goals and overall business priorities, IT spending often goes to waste. Underutilized or wasted IT spending is high, self-estimated by respondents as 32 percent for IaaS/PaaS, 33 percent for data center software, and 36 percent for desktop software. Simply put, roughly one-third of IT spending is going down the drain.  

Without clarity into the IT estate, organizations are at risk of facing significant expenses that result from audits. Major vendors (primarily Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Adobe, and SAP) continue to rely on audits. Audits present a significant challenge; a combined 77 percent of survey respondents say that the amount of time/money spent addressing audits is either somewhat of a challenge or a significant challenge. And 15 percent of respondents paid more than $5 million over the past three years due to software vendor audits.  

Effective SAM and ITAM initiatives can help by identifying important metrics, such as where the waste is occurring or where license positions are out of balance. They can help:  

  • Stop the losses caused by waste
  • Prioritize the reuse of licenses to avoid the purchase of new ones
  • Reduce maintenance spend on unused software
  • Support the reuse of on-premises licenses in the public cloud through BYOL (bring your own license) programs
  • Minimize the remediation activities that result from audits, reduce unbudgeted true-ups, and minimize audit penalties
  • Better negotiate vendor contracts. 

The result: significant savings through cost control. This year’s report found that more than half (55 percent) of survey respondents saved more than $1 million in the past year through their SAM programs, with 16 percent saving more than $10 million in the past year. The cost savings possible from these programs grow as programs mature.  

3) Enhance Security 

ITAM teams can provide data and analysis to support security initiatives and risk management. This is one of the top three responsibilities of ITAM teams (behind tracking the use of on-premises software licenses responding to audits). Security and cybersecurity teams are seeing an evolution and growth in their responsibilities. For example, among HAM teams that report into security/cybersecurity, 90 percent report that they’re responsible for discovering devices in use, up from 63 percent last year.  

ITAM teams can also help protect security by tracking end-of-life/end-of-service (EOL/EOS) assets as they mature. These can expose an organization to security vulnerabilities because the vendor no longer issues patches or updates. They can also present compliance issues and be surprisingly costly to maintain. 

View the Big Picture 

Without a blueprint to guide a project, it’s all too easy to lose track of essential elements. The same holds true for managing a technology estate. By turning to ITAM as an enterprise technology blueprint, organizations can ensure that they’re in the best position to optimize their technology to support budgetary goals, security imperatives, and a wide range of forward-thinking plans that support the company and its customers.

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