Sunday, 20th October 2019
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Why teams are still living in the dark ages?

How to solve the disconnect between manual and digital asset management. By Mark Gaydos, chief marketing officer, Nlyte.

With the majority (96 per cent) of asset decision makers noting that hardware and software asset control is one of their top five priorities for their business, it comes as a massive shock that a third of those enterprises are still tracking their data assets manually.

This data comes from a Sapio Research investigation of TAM, commissioned by Nlyte Software.

When it comes to technology decision-making, there appears to be a number of barriers leading to inefficient processes and preventing an organisation from obtaining clear control of their entire data assets. Whether this is from a constraint on team budget, or a lack of specific skills, there remains a disconnect between teams pushing for digital innovation, yet still working in an age of out-dated, laborious manual processes - causing them to easily lose control and sight of their full data assets.

We know that the digital landscape is changing and while of course audits have their place, never before have they been so diligent and intense. But what does this mean for IT managers when their data asset is put under the microscope? Moving forwards, teams need a more lightweight, agentless technology solution to remove these headaches.

Audits are but one way for any organisation to re-evaluate and re-configure where their assets sit and get a full picture of their current IT stack. No organisation enjoys the process of a third-party audit, but where self-audits are adhered to, the company can be confident that they are always on top of their game. Being able to comply at speed and under stress is a real gift for IT managers in aiding them to deliver what they need to prosper. Success comes from employing new technologies that provide constant monitoring and updated reporting, in real-time, by automating the audit process.

Keeping track of your stack

IT managers don’t have the easiest task in the organisation, especially when an upcoming audit looms over their heads. They need to be fully on top of their compliance to the moment when hardware and software is added or removed, and stay in constant line with the company’s growth and/or changing circumstances in order to provide the right support at the right time. When you factor in assets from mergers and acquisitions the problem can be even less clear as incomplete documentation, different standards and technologies can cloud the situation.

Keeping track of these assets can be incredibly taxing, especially if teams are still following old processes and inappropriate but ‘free’ tools, such as Excel, to do so. Adding to this, IT managers need to ensure that the software attributed to hardware is also being tracked; otherwise organisations could be caught spending too much of their budget on unnecessary licences, causing the business to lose money, or worse, being under-licenced and face a hefty fine from their providers. With constraints on team budgets already, this can make an IT managers job even harder, and can cause them to potentially damage their relationship trying to make magic happen without the right tools and processes to assist them.

As ever in all things business, and especially when it comes to technology decision-making, the barriers on budgets and lack of specific skills are traditionally what prevent an organisation from gaining total asset control. Businesses need to think long-term at what may happen when they realise they’re no longer in control, and consider whether or not they are one of those businesses where it takes something seismic to happen, such as a breach or major fine, to jolt them into action and put certain procedures in place to prevent it from happening again.

Regaining control before it’s too late

After historically being brought up on Excel to manually track their entire technology stack, it can seem like the easiest and more comfortable option for IT managers to stick with when the letter for their next audit arrives; however, this no longer has to be the case. With 84 per cent of IT managers being at least a little concerned about the prospect of a vendor software audit, there’s now, more than ever, a strong case for businesses to find a new solution that offers a ‘real-time’ view of their entire technology stack - this solution is Technology Asset Management or TAM.

TAM is the practice of managing and optimising, maintaining and disposing of software applications, serving the enterprise by bringing order to the chaotically grown compute infrastructure. It functions as a single source of truth for the business to manage the cost, security, compliance, and the operations of its technology.

This software moves IT managers into the 21st century with automated systems and processes to track software and hardware licenses in a digital environment. In fact, 61 per cent of managers in the same survey claimed that a ‘real-time’ view would enhance IT innovation to support their business goals and, over a third (37%) believe that they could save 20 per cent of their budget by remediating underutilised software. This solution is able to organise the use of each and every license across a plethora of devices, locations, and even regions to understand exactly what is being used, how, and by whom.

The TAM-dream

Technology Asset Management even alleviates the worries around wasted man power by bringing optimisations and automation to the centre of the process and giving time back to all those needed throughout the audit. With a number of organisations having spent over 500 hours managing an audit in the past, it’s an IT managers dream solution to be able to streamline their entire process.

Once an audit has been run, not only can information be recorded for software providers, but also show where cost savings can be made from over-brought and under-used licenses. In this same vein it is also possible to prevent the misuse and/or over-use of software once a colleague or team member leaves the company - if licenses are still being tracked manually there’s a good chance this would be forgotten or missed.

Beyond the core time and money aspects of real-time management, the matter of risk looms large. Adoption and discipline of technologies like TAM needs to be higher across the spectrum for large organisations. As organisations grow they often lose control over their technology assets and gaining this control back does not have to be the laborious process it once was.

It’s impossible to avoid a software audit, and just as hard to run the audit with out-dated tools in the time frames typically given - for any mature and complex organisation. However, preparation and planning can make this process a lot simpler, and using a solution, such as TAM, puts all the information at the touch of a button for any IT manager. It allows informed and strategic choices to be made, as well as more cost-effective decisions that will benefit the longer-term business goals.

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