Robin Cronan, Marketing Director, Certero
Cloud based Asset Management Software is among the most popular applications for enterprises, but often fail to deliver any real value.
What Is Cloud Based Asset Management Software?
Cloud based Asset Management Software typically refers to the tools you would implement to improve the governance and security of your IT hardware assets. However, strictly speaking, it has a much broader meaning that encompasses software and cloud applications too. For example, if you want to track Windows and Mac related assets, you’re going to need data from your hardware as well as your software and cloud applications. One is virtually useless without the other.
Today’s IT ecosystems are predominantly made up of Windows and Mac assets, so it is not surprising the tools used to manage them are vital purchases for modern enterprises. However, the majority of these tools were developed decades ago for on-premise deployments, and have not been modernized to deliver value in today’s market. What this means is true end-to-end SaaS solutions, that provide IT hardware, software and cloud asset data, are thought to not actually exist – you will later discover they do.
As more and more organizations move to the cloud, these older tools are left behind. What this means is they do not fit into the strategic vision of a Cloud First enterprise. Many of these vendors have developed basic SaaS tools to counteract this, but they are extremely limited and just cover Microsoft applications on PCs and laptops. They fail to cover Windows and Mac assets that have already been migrated to the cloud, or exist on other devices – critically, these SaaS tools contain NO hardware data. If you need to expand your scope beyond Windows and Mac, these tools cannot help you.
The Importance of Interconnected Cloud Based Asset Management Software
Managing IT assets requires a complete, accurate and interconnected data set for hardware, software and cloud. Ultimately, without this, managing these assets is virtually impossible and can expose you and your enterprise to significant risks.
Where some assets remain on-premise, managing licenses properly requires data across your IT hardware and software assets. If you do not have hardware data, you may find software applications running in areas of your ecosystem you cannot see. If you cannot see them, you cannot manage or control them.
Most cloud based Asset Management Software tools fail to deliver this data. These SaaS tools only cover your software and often discard vital hardware data, or cannot discover it in the first place. However, the limitations don’t stop there. Many of these SaaS tools cannot even discover all of your software applications. So, if you have an application that is not in the vendor’s SRDB, they just ignore it – and you have no idea it exists. The resulting data set is difficult to trust and almost impossible for you to validate. What this means is you will not have the visibility you need across your various IT assets, which will expose you and your organization to the risk of financial penalties from non-compliant licensing.
For organizations migrating to the cloud, license compliance shifts to license optimization. While there are many cost benefits to a Cloud First enterprise, there are also new risks from Cloud Sprawl, Shadow IT and Bill Shock. In a nutshell, this means an uncontrollable and expanding cloud based ecosystem with runaway costs.
As we have already discussed, most cloud based Asset Management Software has incomplete and inaccurate data sets. When it comes to cloud applications, these SaaS tools simply cannot discover or inventory anything. To plug this gap, you and your organization will need to purchase a separate tool. This is not uncommon, but often where the problems get worse.
With two separate tools, you will have two separate data sources and formats, with two separate logins. To achieve license optimization, you must be able to perform a holistic analysis of your on-premise and cloud based ecosystems. However, in this scenario, you would be forced to export data and perform manual processes to stitch it all together. This introduces the risk of human error, further eroding the already poor quality of data. However, many of today’s SaaS tools will not allow you to export data, which means even with manual processes and data entry tasks, you cannot bridge this gap. The result is a complete lack of visibility across your cloud ecosystem, creating an environment in which Cloud Sprawl, Shadow IT and Bill Shock can accelerate, and costs spiral out of control.
IT Governance and Security
When it comes to IT Governance and Security, SaaS based tools offer limited visibility of the software applications within your ecosystem, and do not contain hardware or cloud data. As we explored above, you will need to procure a separate tool if you want hardware data to complete your asset management jigsaw. Again, this is not unusual, but the vendors who provide these tools cannot offer them as SaaS – they are deployed on-premise.
Not only does this go against your Cloud First strategy, it creates endless manual processes and data entry tasks, and limits the visibility of your IT ecosystem. What’s worse, these manual processes are now doubled because instead of having two separate systems to login to, each with its own data source and format, you now have three – even more if you want to cover data center. However, as we now know, the SaaS tool for your software assets does not allow you to export data, leaving you without any overall visibility of your IT ecosystem.
Without visibility, you cannot govern your assets. This includes identifying and resolving security vulnerabilities across your hardware and software applications. If you do not have the ability to see all your hardware assets and the software applications that run on them, you and your entire IT ecosystem will be exposed to cyber security threats that you don’t even know about – and cannot resolve.
Digital Transformation is the ambition of almost all enterprises and requires fast and efficient delivery of technological change programs. Why? Because beating your competitors to market is critical to maintaining or creating a competitor advantage – last is nowhere.
Technological change programs involve the retirement of older legacy hardware and software, to be replaced by newer innovations. However, this cannot be achieved rapidly without complete visibility of your entire IT ecosystem, both in its current and future states. With this level of visibility, you can identify what needs to be retired and whether or not it needs to be replaced. If it does, you can see that new technology in the new ecosystem and use your cloud based asset management software to manage the transition.
However, with all the limitations we have covered, this is completely impossible. By continuing to use a SaaS tool for software applications, and an additional two separate tools for hardware and cloud applications, you cannot get access to the data you need to deliver the change program efficiently. Even if you chose to fall back to a fully on-premise tool set, you will still have endless manual processes to perform. At best your Digital Transformation will dramatically slow down, giving the initiative to your competitors, at worst your strategy will be completely derailed.
Not All Cloud Based Asset Management Software is Made Equal
Thankfully, not all cloud based asset management software is made equal. While the scenarios above are true for the majority of older tools available on the market today, there is a new generation of solutions that are rendering them all obsolete. However, there are many tool providers that make big claims about their technology, so don’t be taken in by the marketing spin – request a proof of concept!
To be truly next generation, the solutions offered should be able to resolve all the issues we have explored in this article. To summarize, the main limitations of today’s tools include:
- No end-to-end SaaS solutions, covering hardware, software and cloud assets
- Different logins for different tools, with conflicting UI/UX
- Fragmented data sources with inconsistent data formats
- Inaccurate data across vendors and devices
- Manual processes and data entry tasks
These limitations are driven by architectural restriction, which results in a patchwork of legacy tools that fail to deliver the value they promise.
The Global Leaders in IT Hardware, Software and Cloud Asset Management
Certero is now the global leader in interconnected and fully automated IT Hardware, Software and Cloud Asset Management. Our solutions are so advanced and modern, they are replacing older tools across the world.
How have we achieved this? Through our unique Architectural Advantage, which frees us from the restrictions commonly observed with older legacy tools. This Architectural Advantage enables us to deliver all of our solutions through the Certero Management Platform, which offers one login, one UI/UX and a single, normalized data source. This covers all devices, from Mobile to Mainframe to Cloud, across all key vendors, including Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, IBM and many more. All of this can be delivered as an end-to-end SaaS solution, or as an on-premise or hybrid deployment, with full functionality and zero compromise.
By offering a holistic and interconnected solution, with such a wide scope, users gain from a ‘single solution’ experience. They also benefit from the world’s most advanced levels of automation. In this respect, our solutions cannot be rivaled in their ability to help you significantly reduce your manual processes. What this means is your outputs are more accurate and complete, and delivered faster and at a lower cost.
All of this helps you to improve your compliance position, maximize your optimization potential, improve your IT governance and security and, accelerate Digital Transformation and cloud migration strategies.