Why are less than 10% of businesses using IT assest management programmes, asks Jon Mein
IT asset management projects can help businesses to reduce costs, comply with corporate governance regulations and improve the performance of hardware or software. It is therefore surprising that, according Gartner, fewer than 10% of businesses have adopted robust asset management programmes.
Gartner defines IT asset management as the business roles and asset tracking software that enable organisations to control IT assets throughout their lifecycle.
Put simply, you must first understand what you want from your asset management projects and then work to achieve this vision by combining the correct bundle of processes and tools. You should look to manage assets throughout their entire lifecycle - from requisition to procurement, deployment, maintenance and, finally, retirement.
Gartner research shows that businesses that manage IT assets throughout this lifecycle reap significant rewards. IT asset management will reduce the cost per asset by as much as 30% in the first year, and between 5% and 10% annually in the next five years.
Much of the first-year savings result from process improvements - standardising on fewer products, suppliers and contracts will streamline administrative processes and generate savings. Reconciling invoices and examining contracts to ensure that negotiated cost savings are realised also offer opportunities for immediate savings.
To generate these rewards, IT directors need to make a long-term financial commitment to asset management - about 3% of their annual IT operating budget. Because of this, it is essential to get management buy-in.
Much of the cost will go on employing the right people for the job: picking a good asset manager to drive the programme will be at the heart of this. This person will need to work with different departments within the business (such as accounting, legal and human resources) and will need good communication and business skills. These skills are in short supply so it may be necessary to develop someone internally.
Also, expect to spend money on asset management tools. Too many businesses acquire software tools thinking they will be the solution to all their IT asset management problems. However, tools are most effective when they are used to automate existing processes that are already efficient.
Whether you are just starting an asset management programme or re-invigorating an existing one, there are key steps you will need to take.
Learn from the successes and failures of those that already have robust asset management programmes.
Develop a long-term strategy that focuses on business needs, and employ an effective and empowered asset manager as team leader to deliver the strategy.
Finally, choose a project that will generate immediate savings to demonstrate value to senior managers.
Jon Mein is research director, software asset management, at analyst firm Gartner