What are the key issues behind IT asset identification?
The old adage ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’, has never been more true than with regard to IT asset identification. The implications of not being able to accurately measure what hardware and software you have installed extend far beyond basic IT Asset Management (ITAM) disciplines. Instead, it now spreads into your capability to defend against a software audit as well as being able to optimize your software licensing to reduce costs going forward.
So, what are key the issues organizations typically face with regard to IT asset identification that prevent them properly managing what they have?
1) Getting the Right ITAM Tool
The first concerns the use of inventory tools. Most organizations quickly come to realize that manual discovery and inventory is simply not feasible. This is because it simply takes too long to do and as a result the information collected is immediately out of date. So the first thing that your discovery & inventory tool should offer is access to real-time information.
However, it is not unusual for an organization to buy a tool to solve a particular problem and then a completely different one to solve another. When you consider that there is both software and hardware to discover and inventory, the number of tools in use, which also need to be managed, can quickly grow out of control.
This leads to many different information feeds that have to be collated to produce meaningful data that can be used for ITAM, Software Asset Management (SAM) and Software License Optimization (SLO) purposes. You would have thought that this would not be too difficult, but sadly it is. Even with products from the same vendor!
2) Accuracy in IT Asset Identification
Are you discovering your hardware and software accurately?
Such a fragmented approach makes introducing QA processes, to ensure all hardware and software is being discovered, difficult. You may be happy with a discovery rate of say 95%, but consider this. If you have some 10,000 devices in your organization, this means that 500 of them are undiscovered. Based on an average cost of $400 for the hardware and the same amount for the software installed on each, this means that $400K of your assets are effectively missing in action. This is a large amount of your budget to be losing sight of.
Even if your tool(s) is discovering everything across your IT estate, it may struggle with bringing back all the attributes you need for effective SAM. From the wrong CPU core information to struggling with interpreting the details of different virtualization technologies, the implications can be costly when the auditors come calling.
Against such a backdrop, the ROI on buying a discovery and inventory tool that will give you 100% accuracy for IT asset identification, in both initially finding everything and then accurately reporting it, is very compelling.
3) Managing Software License Entitlement
Moving beyond tools you need to look at how you manage license entitlement. Many organizations have no or a fragmented repository for their entitlements. This coupled with there being no Definitive Media Library (DML) in place means you cannot prove your entitlement to use the software when challenged during a software audit.
Obviously, this is very much an issue that can be solved internally. Collecting and collating all entitlements into a central repository, that incorporates a DML, will enable you to better understand any licensing shortfalls and able to better react when informed of an audit.
Access to the Right Tool for Discovery and Inventory
Are you requiring help with putting a central license repository in place?
Or do you want to find out more about a discovery and inventory tool that will discover everything accurately?
If you are looking to solve the problem of IT asset identification, get in touch with Certero.