IT organizations spend plenty of money each year deploying and maintaining technology assets – from the centralized servers and network devices to the desktop and laptop devices for end-users. With shrinking profit margins and increasing competition in the marketplace, company leaders are increasingly looking to CIOs and IT leaders to improve the efficiency of technology assets by removing those components, services, etc. that aren’t needed (to cut costs) and increasing the utilization and value of the remaining assets.
The challenge for IT leaders is determining what technology assets reside in their environment and the use of each component, so they can work with their peers to make decisions on how to utilize assets most effectively. Asset management data isn’t just used for operating the IT environment, it is also used for optimizing it as well. IT configuration and asset data are critical to help leaders manage assets in their environment – keeping track of lists of the existing components and systems, what they are and their dependency relationships with other systems and business services. If this information is correct and complete, then it will also show leaders where assets are being underutilized and provide insights into how to improve asset efficiency.
Finding underutilized assets in your environment
The first step to improve asset efficiency is to understand your existing assets and their current use. Discovery, your Configuration Management database (CMDB) and Asset Management systems are the tools your IT team needs for this assessment. Discovery capabilities enable you to collect information from your environment about existing technology assets and their connections to other elements in your environment. Your CMDB is the repository where you store this information and your asset management system is the set of tools used to create and view relationship mappings and other attributes of your assets.
If you have these core capabilities, then you should be able to compile a big-picture view of your IT environment. Operational monitoring (of network traffic, CPU utilization and storage, etc.) can provide information about the overall utilization of each asset (including how it changes with normal business cycles). The relationship mapping data in your asset management system can help you correlate the capacity utilization with business functions, worksite locations and the business activities the assets are supporting. Once this information has been gathered, you are now able to see what assets are underutilized (with available capacity) and what assets are fully consumed.
Using utilization information to improve asset efficiency
While some organizations just use their utilization information to optimize their current services, the most valuable insights to be gained are the opportunities to use existing assets to support new business needs. Perhaps, you have a new business application that must be hosted, or a new facility coming online that must be connected to the company network. By understanding where you have available capacity in your existing asset portfolio, you may be able to support business growth goals without having to incur the time and cost involved in procuring something new. Can that underutilized server from sales also run some manufacturing software? Can leftovers from your recent facilities upgrade project be re-used to complete the building of a new site? Perhaps. These are the insights that will lead to more efficient, future asset utilization.
Managing asset utilization isn’t just about controlling costs – it’s also using the resources available to the organization in the most efficient way possible to create value for the company. IT environments change frequently and there are often underutilized technology assets either occupying space in a store room or still operating in the environment with useful life. Company leaders are looking to their CIOs and IT leaders to understand what assets are available and find ways to use them more efficiently.
The Discovery, IT Asset Management (ITAM) and IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions from Virima will help leaders achieve these goals, providing not only the tools for capturing data about your environment, but also the tools for managing, visualizing and driving actionable insights from this valuable data source. To learn more, download our whitepaper on discovery and visualization here.