Success Starts with Inventory Visibility – A Case for Comprehensive IT Asset Management

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Avotus.

CIOs and other executives are well aware of the fact that the IT and telecom infrastructures within their organizations are growing at an exponential rate, and access to clean, current and accurate inventory is essential. Yet, how do you optimize IT infrastructure for the firm if you don’t have the tools to accurately capture data and gain visibility into all that a CIO is expected to manage? New users — new network connections and hardware — are introduced constantly. Conversely, circuits and assets are disconnected regularly, yet many continue to be billed to clients. Management of these components and associated charges is imperative to efficiently managing costs and obtaining visibility. Currently, much of IT asset management (ITAM) cost reconciliation and allocation is performed manually using spreadsheets with “rear view” information, which does not provide organizations with timely actionable business intelligence.

As 2016 begins, it is crucial that executives identify a solution that allows them to inventory IT and telecom assets from the physical network layer to the core and compile those records into an extended configuration management database (CMDB) that provides total visibility of IT and telecom assets and their associated costs. For today’s enterprise, this real-time accurate inventory is essential for tracking all hardware and software assets. This is no easy task, considering the proliferation of mobile devices, new installations and system retirements, to name just a few of the issues CIOs and other management face. Companies should have their ITAM strategy built on an asset’s lifecycle — from requisition to deployment to retirement and disposal. According to Sandi Conrad, world-class operations practice lead with InfoTech Research Group, effective ITAM provides the foundation to manage vendors and contracts, support security efforts and cut costs, “sometimes by as much as 25 to 50 percent.”

When it comes to developing an ITAM strategy, nothing can be more impactful than utilizing automated workflows to reduce manual intervention in the collection and management of vendors, which can improve financial oversight, increase operational efficiency and control expenses. Organizations that can automate processes such as the on- and off-boarding of employees, provisioning of carrier services and integration of web services and disparate systems, free up resources that can be redirected to activities that drive top-line revenue. Many companies acquire several tools to try to realize these objectives but would prefer one solution that takes inventory of all IT and telecom assets within the network infrastructure and organizes the data into a single CMDB.

Having one comprehensive view is the most desirable approach, for many reasons. It gives an organization’s IT department the ability to associate the network physical layer (switches, routers and circuits) with the investment layer (inventory, invoices and contracts) to gain visibility and control of database inventory and associated expenses. In short, all of the important information related to ITAM is tied into a financial engine that gives a manager the ability to look into one portal and see everything from the network to the end user and the assets that are in use. It compiles the location of each asset, who is using them, the associated expenses and cost allocation. This consolidated view eliminates manual intervention, saving time and reducing error. All data is stored in one portal that provides access to financial detail and inventory in an easily accessible and organized format. What’s more, the best ITAM solutions have the capacity for geolocation, which matches assets to the building addresses where they are housed.

ITAM is a universal issue, and its importance will only grow in the coming years. ITAM provides a clear understanding of what systems and equipment exist, how components are used, what they cost and how they impact IT and business services. In order to do this, organizations must identify a partner that is dedicated to taking them to the next level of IT and telecom process automation.

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