Guest post by our friends Tom Bosch & Cathy Won at BDNA. We met Tom & Cathy at Knowledge 16 earlier this year (Vegas baby!) and got chatting about how we need to be more agile in getting both ITSM and ITAM established.
Today’s IT departments are grappling with the sea change brought by cloud architectures, virtualization, mergers and acquisitions, software audits, compliance, security, upgrades and a host of other initiatives, such as BYOD (bring your own device). These new challenges only exacerbate current complexities in managing company laptops, desktops, servers, operating systems, network hardware, and now, mobile devices and tablets.
As the IT landscape continues to evolve, it is vital that enterprises gain greater control over the various components within their IT infrastructure. Not only do ITAM solutions help companies detect and prevent IT and regulatory risks, they also maximize a company’s productivity.
The challenge is understanding where and how to begin deploying a new IT Asset Management (ITAM) program, or how to leverage existing ITAM solutions in a way that keeps up with these changes. Below are suggestions for how an effective ITAM program can be established in less than 30 days.
Deploy Sooner than Later
Software vendors frequently — and without warning — audit customers to ensure they are in compliance with license contracting terms. An audit can be triggered out of nowhere, and failing one audit could trigger more. For software vendors, it’s simple business logic: Make sure customers pay for any software usage above and beyond what they are entitled. But for customers, providing proof that the organization is using only properly licensed software can be cumbersome and complicated.
According to a recent survey of several hundred IT professionals conducted by Information Week and BDNA, more than 61 percent of companies were audited within the last 18 months, and more than 17 percent of them were audited more than three times within that same 18-month period.
And as anyone who has been through one is aware, software audits carry hefty fines. In addition to the hefty financial burden of paying for the settlement, true-ups and additional IT, legal and PR resources, organizations also find their productivity, credibility, opportunity and reputation impacted post-audit.
Given the high consequences of non-compliance, ITAM can no longer be taken lightly as an optional discipline. The sooner an ITAM program is put into place, the sooner a company is protected from a costly audit.
Know the Answers
More than 85 percent of the BDNA survey’s respondents admitted that they were “accidental” software pirates, either deploying software for which they had never paid or exceeding their number of acquired licenses.
When senior executives ask how to make ITAM projects as simple as they can be, they really want a process that answers these three questions:
- What do I have?
- Are we using what we’ve purchased?
- Are we entitled to all we are using?
By achieving greater visibility, an enterprise achieves some key benefits:
- Stronger negotiation position with suppliers
- Better security and system integrity
- Reduced risk and improved governance
4 Steps to Greater Visibility
The most fundamental goal of greater visibility can be achieved in less than 30 days with these four steps:
1) Discovery: The first step to greater visibility into the enterprise is to discover what assets the enterprise holds. Many enterprises already possess the tools to do part of this, but are not properly integrating the tools into their overall IT management processes. Existing tools such as System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) can often be used to capture raw data about IT assets. Most companies have at least six tools installed and can leverage that data – and ensuring the right processes are in place to do that is key.
2) Reconcile the data: Eliminate unnecessary, irrelevant and duplicate data discovered across multiple tools. That duplicate data can be safely discarded, ridding the enterprise of distracting clutter.
3) Remove redundant and unauthorized applications by identifying overlaps and keeping only those that are being fully utilized.
4) Pair inventory with your procurement process: This improves compliance in preparation for an audit as well as identifying unused resources and licenses, giving you additional leverage to negotiate with your suppliers.
By following these guidelines, enterprises can significantly minimize the risk from an audit and disruption to business as usual in less than a month.
About the Authors
Tom Bosch is a Certified Software Asset Manager who operates as director of Sales at BDNA Corporation. He has spent the last five years working with dozens of corporations solving ITAM issues. With a diverse 30-year background in sales, operations and finance management, Tom has been involved in numerous re-engineering projects in which the focal point remains process simplification.
Cathy Won is director of product marketing at BDNA. Cathy has extensive product marketing and product management experience, including time at NetApp, Juniper Networks, EMC, VERITAS, Legato and Brocade.