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Building the Basis for Smart IT Decision-Making

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by Terri Hart-Sears August 30, 2016
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In a recent article, Blazent CEO Charlie Piper noted the majority of IT executives are not confident in their data-quality management practices. This means critical business decisions are being made every day without a complete and accurate picture of the IT estate. The four-hour New York Stock Exchange outage in the summer in 2015, for example, and the six-hour United Airlines shutdown on the same day both stemmed from issues around updating software and lifecycle management tools. And both were highly avoidable events.

Why is this happening? The answer is simple: We are involved in a struggle with our data, and the data are winning. At the heart of this conundrum is asset data. Think for a moment about all of the assets the IT organization has to track: data center hardware and software, virtual assets, a dizzying array of end-user computing devices, networking infrastructure and more.

Enterprises need to know the best way to manage their assets throughout their lifecycle, and this is an important function of the IT organization. But it is only part of the story. In addition to managing the processes involved in acquiring, installing, deploying and disposing of each asset, enterprises must manage the entire IT estate and link financial, contractual and inventory functions to support lifecycle and strategic decision-making.

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Assets for large enterprises are often geographically dispersed, and asset management services are usually provided by a combination of client and service provider teams that are also spread out across the globe. This introduces a wide variety of risks, from viruses to lost data to audit penalties. To mitigate risks and get a fuller picture of the entire IT estate, an enterprise needs carefully defined and well-communicated performance tools and processes that trace IT consumption from one end of the asset lifecycle to the other.

The Asset Management Pyramid pictured here ties asset data to IT service management processes and key financial information, offering a simplified view of how organizations can operationalize the IT estate and manage cost and compliance. At the center of the Asset Management Pyramid is the asset repository, or the configuration management database. The repository needs to document information about the asset itself, how the asset is used and how it changes over time. Data in the repository must follow the three Cs: it must be correct, current and complete.

An enterprise also must connect each asset to all of its related, key financial components to track its total cost of ownership. This information creates the foundation for charge-back systems and for calculating the bill of IT. It also sets the stage for IT benchmarking and forecasting and is integral to important investment decisions, including contracting for services and software.

The key to managing an entire IT estate is in the use of technology for data quality management, disciplined processes and regular reporting. When these business practices and standards are linked to correct, current and complete information about the enterprise’s assets, decision makers benefit from a complete view of how their investment in IT serves their business objectives.

ISG helps enterprises build asset management systems that give them the upper hand on their data. Contact me to discuss.

About the author

Terri is a trusted advisor with deep expertise in strategic asset management and IT global sourcing management. Terri brings a significant understanding of information technology strategy, processes and sourcing-related initiatives to ISG clients. Her roles include Managed Services Director for Technology Business Management (TBM Practice), Asset Management and Consumption Management (CM) within the ISG Managed Services practice, leading designs, solutions and implementations for IT financial and asset management solutions. Terri provides expertise in sourcing methodology, contract administration, financial, performance, relationship management, and transition management. Terri has published several articles on Asset Management, Sourcing Practices and IT Optimization.


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