IT Asset Management gets more pro-active
Change and License Management increase the RoI of IT Asset Management
For a long time, the slowly maturing market for IT asset management focussed on the breadth and accuracy of the asset data collected. This was a significant challenge in itself, with lack of standardization in how assets were defined and represented; even today we have just the beginnings of the adoption of ISO19770 Part 2 to introduce some clarity into software identification.
IT asset management RoI: the basics
Estimates of the return on investment achievable from IT asset management vary hugely. Some of the highest come not from vendors like us but from the most highly respected analysts such as Forrester and Gartner. And if you are able to get access to the details of their models, it becomes obvious that the levels of returns expected correspond to the degree to which the data is put to use. One of the most obvious - and which we have seen time and time again with our customers - is the identification and elimination of unused application software.
Change and License Management: new potential for RoI
More recently, we have seen the asset data in customer installations beginning to be used in more sophisticated ways, and in particular for Change and License Management. We get visibility of this trend because these are themselves sophisticated elements of infrastructure management, requiring their own software tools. I.e. we get asked if we can supply modules to bring in these capabilities in a tight integration with the asset data.
A key characteristic shared by these functions is that they are process driven. Although they both require well-defined databases to hold the change data and license data, the emphasis is on workflow management. This might be for something simple like alerting to an upcoming maintenance renewal that needs approval from multiple budget-holders, to managing the complex process of a software change proposal, prototyping, testing and revision and finally implementation.
Sharing a platform with Incident and Problem Management
Both Change and License Management can benefit heavily from being founded on the same ITIL-oriented platform that an organization already has in place for its Issue Management (more specifically, to borrow the ITIL terms) Incident and Problem management. It’s very often the case that a requirement for change stems from a reported incident and the ensuing problem diagnosis. A license upgrade can stem from a need to track changes to the core OS configuration.
In this scenario, a common approach to data representation and workflow management across all three functions enables all the stakeholders to spend the smallest amount of time learning how to use the tools and the maximum amount of time focusing on solving the challenges at hand and maximizing the returns for the organization.
About the Author
Colin Bartram's background in IT Asset and Service Management runs uninterrupted from the 1980s, and includes specifying, writing, selling and supporting software solutions. Today he contributes to product strategy and marketing for the Vector Networks group of companies. His spare time is focussed on his horse and the related demands of maintaining 5 acres of ancient pasture in Derbyshire in the UK.