ITAM & SAM Cost-Cutting & The Great Balancing Act

May 6, 2021

CIOs and senior executives know all too well that cutting costs across IT is a fine line, sometimes a proverbial knife-edge between saving money immediately in the short-term, balanced against the risks of having the worst-case scenario happen and a much larger risks hit you when you’re least prepared; the Cyber-attacks, the major software vendor audits, the bad strategic decisions that set you back months and up-end your budget for the year.

It’s tiring. It’s stressful and everyone is looking and relying on you to seemingly make the impossible happen. So what tools do you have in your corner to inform you so that you can make the right decisions… the good decisions? The Career-making decisions…?

How Do You Identify the Opportunities?

For IT leaders in the hot seat, there’s a never-ending pressure to cut costs whilst seemingly perform miracles to keep up with a relentless drive for digital transformation. As 2020 has shown, sometimes rapid transformations can take place not because it’s desired or is the ideal time, but because it is critical.

We all like to think we possess that instinct to know when an investment is needed to transform and reduce greater costs in the medium-long term, but selling that prospect internally can sometimes be a challenge and there’s always the temptation to reduce capability or ‘make do’ with less because it will reduce costs in the short-term.

This can particularly true with IT asset management and SAM, as it’s an investment in risk-mitigation and cost avoidance if you’re able to wield the capability – often the skills & expertise elements are a gap that requires extra investment, particularly with managing software licensing and also now as organizations need to manage the added complexity of hybrid environments.

This often creates a fork in the road: do you invest further in SAM, HAM, ITAM and strategically use the insights and intelligence from these solutions to squeeze value greater value out of all IT assets and cut costs that way? Or do you sign a check with Microsoft or your Service Desk provider and hope that the rudimentary ITAM tools they can provide will hopefully do the job?

The decision often hinges on whether you have any real Evidence of Value from your incumbent ITAM / SAM solutions.

Free Is Nearly Always Your Most-Costly Option

It’s commonly understood that ITSM solutions and other ‘free’ asset management solutions like Microsoft’s SCCM, are not recognized as ‘mature’ solutions to manage Software Assets on an enterprise scale. This is not their purpose; service desks follow ITIL methodologies and an inventory’s purpose is to populate a CMDB, whilst Microsoft’s System Centre is still primarily a desktop-centered administration tool, useful, but not a reliable data source to navigate a software vendor audit without serious questions about the quality and completeness of information. Plus, there’s no licensing solution.

Even SAM tools including those from ‘leading vendors’ can be falling well short of what was promised when the solution was sold – no solution does the job entirely for you, legacy technology issues with poor support and even security risks keep emerging and all whilst your SAM program should be demonstrating tangible Evidence of Value.

Both scenarios lead to the same risk eventually; uncontrolled over-spending with software licensing. At some point a vendor audit will occur, at which time it is highly likely that any costs saved by eliminating the SAM capability will be eclipsed by audit penalties. And now with SaaS & Cloud, new vendors don’t even need to invoke the audit clause; uncontrolled proliferation in the cloud and allowing SaaS subscriptions to roll-on unoptimized is a huge expense that will just continue by default.

Consider also that your SAM solution may also be the go-to information source to understand precisely what software is deployed across the estate and what versions and editions of products are in use. This is obviously a cornerstone of SAM; automated and complete Software Recognition & categorization and a reliable full visibility of your IT estate. So when a Cybersecurity risk occurs and you need to know if you’re running potential vulnerabilities – where is your go-to for this vital information? …can you trust it? …is it your responsibility to answer if this is potentially at risk?

Whichever way you look at it, the need to control IT costs closely and particularly understanding software and licensing will not go away, so how do you decide the best course of action to control it and ensure value is attained?

Assess and Understand the Gaps

Certero would suggest that getting informed would be the first step and that could be achieved through an independent SAM Maturity Assessment service. This approach is a way of measuring your capability and resources against industry best practices, including ISO 19770-1:2017.

Technology, processes and skills and expertise can be reviewed and the report will identify if what you currently have is enough, what the gaps are and if present, how may be best to fill them.

Old Tools Aren’t Fit-For-Purpose in the New World

With the advent of SaaS & Cloud and ‘hybrid’ environments, the old SAM tools from 10 years ago are proving to be the blockers standing in the way of you being able to stay in active control and having the business information available across all IT assets – all devices, infrastructure, software and Cloud – to be able to make safe strategic decisions, as quickly as the business demands.

Agility is now key – information needs to be immediately available and reliable and the ways in which major contracts are managed is changing.

Vendors are moving towards single-agreement management of their contracts (i.e. one single contract with a software vendor regardless of the different licensing models and environments you may still be operating) and for this, procurement need to have the same holistic understanding to be informed and able to negotiate.

This is where the big savings are made – by being informed and purchasing correctly, eliminating waste and having the BI to make the best decisions.

Join the Renaissance

Modernization is already here and the answers to these challenges already exists in Certero, Technology-Led Services and the unified single platform for IT intelligence.

The challenges with achieving good data and information first and foremost can be eliminated by moving away from the old legacy technology way of managing different IT asset disciplines. Multiple toolsets means multiple, siloed data held in databases and no ‘Single source of the truth’ for critical information and no way of managing ‘everything in ONE place’. The Certero platform eradicates this issue by design, and Certero’s platform isn’t just a marketing exercise to re-brand old technology – Certero is the only solution on the market to be 100% developed from scratch to be a holistic modern platform – whether hosted as SaaS or provisioned on-premise.

Certero offers full enterprise scope too; mobile to mainframe to SaaS & Cloud, all in one single solution, and because its free of old legacy technology, it’s much easier and less costly to manage and support than the old tools of 2010…

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