In the realm of IT administration, it’s all too easy to get stuck in familiar patterns, treating well-worn routines as unalterable. Asset management is a discipline that often falls prey to this inertia, particularly within the corporate landscape. There is an inclination to regard it merely as an advanced form of stock-taking, a view that fundamentally underestimates its potential and strategic value.
With IT infrastructure growing increasingly intricate, and an unparalleled level of business reliance on IT, we need a level of understanding of IT assets that goes far beyond simply cataloguing what we possess and have running. The key is to gain an understanding of what services these assets are supporting, along with their business use and importance.
None of this is static, however. The IT landscape can change dramatically, and often does. Add in the ever-growing need for stringent regulatory compliance, and it all makes visibility into IT systems and their usage more critical than ever.
More than just an inventory listing
This applies to both hardware and software. Effective IT and Software Asset Management (ITAM and SAM) goes beyond simple inventory listing. Done well, it can pave the way for enhancing security, reducing costs and, perhaps most importantly of all, improving IT service quality.
Unfortunately, the potential advantages of adopting a dedicated, leading-edge asset management solution can easily go unnoticed. Companies frequently content themselves with the basic functionality embedded in more comprehensive platforms or suites, which can lead to opportunities being overlooked. It is not uncommon for the ‘make-do-with-what-we-have’ or ‘use-the-free-option’ mindset to constrain organisations from even looking at the additional capabilities provided in specialist solutions. As the old adage goes, “They don’t know what they don’t know.”
The challenge, then, is to liberate your mindset from this inertia. It’s time to critically scrutinise your current ITAM and SAM systems, and to ask whether your existing asset management solution genuinely mirrors the best practices your organisation could be adopting. Are you inadvertently making use of a component of a broader solution set, without assessing the potential advantages a specialised solution could deliver? Remember that the free or “already accounted for” part of a wider suite may well carry opportunity costs.
Managing for tomorrow as well as today
Remember too that the aim is not just to understand what you have, but also to check that it meets both your current and projected future needs.
Today there are more than enough drivers for organisations to revisit ITAM and SAM practices, in particular to analyse whether their existing solutions still meet evolving needs. Recognising effective asset management as a foundation for efficiency and value-addition across IT ecosystems and broader business operations is crucial.
The maturity of modern tools and the experience available for their successful deployment reinforce that now is the time to spotlight ITAM and SAM. Although I’ve championed this for over two decades, today’s convergence of technology and business needs make it more critical than ever. Where are you?
Tony is an IT operations guru. As an ex-IT manager with an insatiable thirst for knowledge, his extensive vendor briefing agenda makes him one of the most well informed analysts in the industry, particularly on the diversity of solutions and approaches available to tackle key operational requirements. If you are a vendor talking about a new offering, be very careful about describing it to Tony as ‘unique’, because if it isn’t, he’ll probably know.