About the Author

Jason Christensen

A Recipe for Success: Optimizing IT for Financial Value

GettyImages-479204066It goes without saying that we strive to be successful, both personally and professionally. When it comes to the latter, how can you be sure that the decisions you’re making are leading your business down the path of financial success?

The answer can be found in how you’re evaluating the decisions you’re making and ultimately adjusting to those results.

Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) found a direct link to the number of metrics in play and businesses and organizations who saw themselves as ‘more successful’ in optimizing IT for financial value.

The top three priorities were:

  1. IT CapEx costs
  2. The cost of delivering IT services internally
  3. IT OpEx efficiencies

When asked about the main challenges and hoped-for benefits of optimizing IT for financial performance, the number one answer to each respective question on the EMA survey was improved operational efficiencies.

So what’s the recipe for success? EMA’s data suggests groups can become more successful by focusing their efforts on the following areas:

  • IT Budget – 38 percent of successful organizations had an IT budget that grew more than 50 percent
  • Organizational values – Single coordination across silos, IT executive suite leading the way, CEO-level involvement
  • Discovery – More discovery/inventory tools overall, real-time updating, devote more time to reconciling data discrepancies
  • Service modeling – CMDB or a CMS deployed and ADDM capability deployed
  • Automation – More automation technologies deployed
  • Service catalog/app store – Least successful organizations don’t offer these option
  • Audit – Those who spent more time preparing for audits felt they were prepared for security-related vulnerabilities
  • Business technologies and analytics – Analytics for IT impacts on business outcomes, analytics in support of partner-related business process optimization, workflow automation for processes for linking business and IT stakeholders, and IT governance targeting
  • Metrics – Most successful organizations have at least five metrics in place, versus two for the least successful
  • Challenges – Tackle challenges such as lack of IT-to-business stakeholder dialog, fragmented technologies, sharing data effectively across IT silos, associating cost data with other parameters

EMA suggests using this data to develop a personalized plan for your organization. See how LANDESK can help you tackle some of these challenges and achieve greater value in your IT.

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Invest in These IT Strategies to Boost the Value of Your IT

laptop and financial chart with glowing points on abstract background.The mobile revolution has changed the way many workers perform their jobs. A smartphone or tablet can provide many of the tasks once exclusively limited to a desktop. This has created an even greater remote workforce, able to interact with customers and co-workers from anywhere. This concept isn’t lost on IT organizations, who are adapting to serve this mobile revolution.

According to a recent survey conducted by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), 40 percent of respondents said their ITSM operation supported a mix of desktop and mobile devices. Respondents indicated that the top challenge for mobile endpoint lifecycle management was understanding all endpoint costs on a per-owner basis for mobile and non-mobile.
Another sticking point was data, which EMA found is a key metric of optimizing IT for financial performance. Data is a broad term. EMA reveals that successful organizations are able to sort the ‘good’ data from the ‘bad’ in order to make more valued decisions.

The survey showed that workers spend, on average, about 10 hours a week resolving data accuracy issues. Those who considered themselves ‘extremely successful’ in optimizing IT for financial performance spent as much as 25 hours per week reconciling data from different sources. According to EMA, this shows that data management is critical, but there is serious room for improvement due to a lack of tools to help organizations achieve this.

Businesses are also finding savings in Green IT where desktop power consumption, VDI power efficiencies, and data center power consumption were the top three priorities. IoT trends followed suit, with many organization’s ITAM operations dedicated to lowering utility and power costs, followed by building and facilities costs.

As for future investments, those who responded to the EMA survey said their organization was eying the following financial optimization initiatives in the next year:

1. Workflow/automation for processes linking IT and business
2. IT financial planning analytics
3. Executive dashboards for sharing information with IT
4. IT governance analytics targeting ITSM efficiencies
5. Executive dashboards/reporting between IT and business stakeholders

EMA points that these results show many organizations are looking to the above solutions to unify IT and use that information to influence business-related decisions.
See how LANDESK can help maximize the value of your IT and save money with award-winning solutions and products.

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Trendspotting: Is Your Organization Optimizing IT for Financial Performance?

GettyImages-494940062Running IT as a business isn’t just a catchphrase; it’s now an important requirement for corporations and organizations trying to remain competitive and profitable.

But what does “running IT as a business” really mean?

That’s a gray area according to Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), who state that traditionally defined markets will isolate where IT needs to invest in order to increase value and minimize cost.

However, the industry struggles to define the cultural drivers surrounding IT’s move to more effectively align with business needs.

EMA survey

In an effort to shed some knowledge on this situation, EMA launched an investigation into the finer points of optimizing IT for financial performance. They surveyed 250 IT and non-IT stakeholders in North America and Europe, working in enterprises and organizations with more than 250 employees. It’s important to mention that a majority of the respondents (35 percent) were IT managers, and that 37 percent were at the director level or above.

Here are some of the interesting trends EMA discovered:

  • Non-business IT stakeholders were twice as likely as IT execs and IT professionals to prioritize improved IT-to-business alignment.
  • IT budgets are growing at a rate of more than 10 percent, with the average response reflecting a budget of more than $10 million annually.
  • The survey revealed that the top four internal organizations leading the drive to optimizing IT for financial performance were: IT executives, IT operations, ITSM, and ITAM. Surprisingly, only two percent responded that no one single group was leading the initiative in this area.
  • There’s a strong link between having a single coordinating organization across all silos of IT and success in optimizing IT for cost and value.
  • There was little separation when it came to defining what companies defined as their top IT financial priority. According to the survey, 16 percent said optimizing IT process efficiencies was their top priority, versus 14 percent who indicated that improving overall IT-to-business alignment was their primary focus. 10 percent pointed to preparing for audits as their top priority.

As per audits, results showed that organizations spend on average 30 hours consolidating asset inventory data and an additional 30 hours collecting asset entitlement data for a major audit. That’s significant considering the options available for tracking and inventory of software assets.

Another surprising observation is how companies are managing the assets they already have. EMA’s survey revealed that 35 percent of respondents were doing weekly discovery or inventory, with just 21 percent performing the same actions in real time. They’re also using a wide range of solutions to perform that task, with the average answer indicating that anywhere from 12-19 different tools were used across an organization to discover assets.

EMA discovered that in addition to workflow automation and IT process automation, more companies are incorporating analytics-driven automation to support financial optimization. That change shows that more companies are taking notice of the role IT plays in driving financial optimization.

Cloud-based solutions are on the radar of many organizations. EMA found that 35 percent of those polled viewed cloud as integrated overall with their broader approach for optimizing IT. According to respondents, cloud’s biggest challenges were security-related, with many saying security compliance for audits was their top concern while optimizing cloud processes for value and cost ranked more towards the bottom. One thing is for sure, cloud-related spending is growing at a 10 percent rate annually, with the average organization devoting 30 percent of their IT budget to support cloud services, according to the survey.

Are you spending to invest in the future of your IT, or are you dedicating your budget to just fighting fires? Let LANDESK show you how you can solve the biggest problems facing your IT, while helping your organization prepare for the future.

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I Visited a LANDESK ITAM Customer in Chicago and Here’s What I Found Out

GettyImages-507573282 (1)I recently visited one of the world’s emerging biotech companies who pioneer solutions in rare disease therapies.

The company has asked that we not share their name for privacy reasons.

Hardware and software asset management

Aside from the task of developing new and groundbreaking treatment options, one of the main challenges the company faced was how to effectively manage their hardware and software assets.

A recent merger increased their global workforce to 25,000 to 30,000 employees. It also brought with it a number of new devices and software, all being managed by a singular IT asset management team.

One of their greatest challenges was managing all those ‘new’ assets, a task they used to do within spreadsheets and various point products. It’s not the most accurate approach, and it could potentially expose them to serious security threats.

LANDESK solutions

With solutions from LANDESK, they’ve been able to gain a deeper knowledge of what assets they have, where they’re located, and most importantly, how they’re performing.

These same solutions are also helping them shore up their IT security. Devices that potentially contain pirated software can open the door to malware, leading to costly data breaches that can permanently damage a company’s bottom line and reputation.

LANDESK Security Suite features application whitelisting and blacklisting – preventing users from putting their organization at risk.

With LANDESK Asset Central, they’re in the process of discovering and inventorying their assets in order to gain visibility on each device connected to the company’s network and the software on those devices. It’s the first step in a global ITAM strategy and a crucial task when preparing for the inevitable audit.

Previously, their IT asset management team was making software and hardware purchases based solely on requests. They’re now using LANDESK Asset Intelligence to track software installations and usage, a move that allowed them to reclaim $100,00 in software licensing.

They now know exactly what has been purchased, installed, and used. With this information, they’re able to reduce costs and better negotiate with vendors.

Many organizations are following suit, as software companies realize just how lucrative audits can prove to be.

Tracking the lifecycle of employees and their devices is also critical in the highly-regulated field of biotechnology. Having comprehensive onboarding/offboarding procedures will ensure sensitive information like patient data or proprietary assets are secure and won’t be leaked.

More benefits

The switch to LANDESK has also made generating reports simpler. Before LANDESK, it took a lot of research and work hours to generate a report on a specific topic. Now, LANDESK’s solutions allow for the instant creation of comprehensive reports across a wide-range of subsets within the ITAM structure.

The scalability and customization of tools like LANDESK Asset Central and Xtraction allow users to drag and drop the information that’s most important to them, making for an easy-to-read to display.

The benefits extend beyond the core IT team. LANDESK Workspaces allows everyone from C-level to front office staff, gain visibility into their network based on their role within an organization.

Installing LANDESK Asset Central in their environment was a breeze. One software asset manager said it was the smoothest transition he’d experienced in his two decades in the industry. They’re incredibly satisfied with the support they received from LANDESK and the products we’ve provided.

So what’s next? The company is looking to use LANDESK to automate certain processes within their IT workflow. It’s a time saving move that will allow them to focus on more important mission goals. Why not join them? Send us an email at contact@landesk.com and see how we can help you gain control of your IT environment while saving time and money.

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On the ITAM Road to Success, LANDESK Hits All Green Lights

I’ve never considered myself to be out of the ordinary. Six feet tall, blonde hair, and blue eyes seems to be the norm in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, my recent trip to Mexico made me feel quite out of place. Not only did my physical appearance put me out of place, but my language skills and cultural differences added to the “gringo” reputation.

However, my recent trip to Mexico made me feel quite out of place. Not only did my physical appearance put me out of place, but my language skills and cultural differences added to the “gringo” reputation.

Much like my recent trip where I felt like the elephant in the room, LANDESK recently went through a similar experience when Info-Tech Research Group named LANDESK a Champion in their IT Asset Management Vendor Landscape Report.

What’s more, LANDESK was the only vendor to have all green boxes when it came to features evaluated in the report.

ITAM

ITAM2

So, what does this mean? From our perspective, LANDESK has the wide product portfolio people need and want.

Saving money and avoiding financial risk is a top priority for most organizations, and IT asset management can cut costs by up to 50 percent by maintaining hardware and software assets, reclaiming unused licenses, supporting security efforts, and managing vendors and contracts. Selecting a vendor that can help you achieve these initiatives is critical.

Businesses also need to be able to discover and inventory owned and new assets within their organization. Understanding what assets you have enables you to get (and stay) compliant, as well as curb overspending and underspending on software licenses. Tracking the usage of those licenses also allows you to reclaim and reallocate resources where needed.

Desktop management is another important feature that was evaluated in the report. For proper asset management, you need quick and easy deployment of software, migration, and patching. You want to have transferable licenses so you don’t have to purchase new ones when migrating. From a security standpoint, you can’t manage what you don’t know about.

Eighty percent of businesses are overpaying for software licenses. By implementing strategies around this feature set, businesses can avoid financial risk.

LANDESK is green across the board when it comes to feature set capabilities so customers are able to accomplish exactly what they need to do with a single solution instead of a variety of point products.

These are just a few of the important features that were weighed in the Info-Tech evaluation. Check out the complete vendor landscape report below for additional details.

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How to Spot the ITAM Diamond in the Rough

Diamond in the roughI recently read an article where a young girl visiting Arkansas Crater of Diamonds State Park uncovered an 8.52 carat diamond.

Your search for the right ITAM vendor is much like this woman’s search for her diamond. It requires a lot of digging and sifting to uncover the right features, capabilities, and—ultimately—the right solution for your organization.

In order to find the right vendor, you first have to know what you’re looking for.

A recent report produced by Info-Tech Research Group (find the full report below) uncovered a series of features and capabilities to help organizations compare and select an ITAM vendor.

Discovery and inventory

First, the report instills the importance of a discovery and inventory good tool. Whether it is on a desktop, in the data center, in the cloud, or on a mobile device, knowing what is connected to your network is critical.

Software usage

The ability to track software usage is another important capability for a good ITAM solution.

Eighty percent of businesses overpay for software licenses. This means that by tracking who is using what, you can reduce your software spend substantially, helping you optimize your resources, ensure software compliance, and allow for the reclamation of unused software for reallocation.

Desktop management

Enterprises are also looking for vendors that can deliver excellent desktop management, whether it is Windows, MAC, or MDM.

The deployment of software should be quick and timely. Organizations should strive to reduce the amount of time it takes for users to find and access software for employees to be productive. Processes should also be in place for easy migration to make sure everyone is up-to-date.

In addition, patching should be available. From a security perspective, you can’t manage what you don’t know about.

Mobile device management

Mobile device management (MDM) is another key feature that Info-Tech says every good ITAM solution should have.

Our world is becoming increasingly more mobile. Tracking your devices and the software installed on them can help from both a financial and security perspective. Gain visibility and reduce theft and loss of hardware to ensure sensitive information doesn’t go missing.

Mobile devices usually have a lifespan of two to five years, which means you need to off-board mobile devices quickly and efficiently.

Automated or manual data imports and integrated IT ops

These should also be at the top of the list.

Automation, automation, automation is my philosophy. Search for a vendor with out-of-the-box connectors that aggregate vendor, reseller, and publisher data like warranties and purchase information.

You then need to establish a process to normalize and reconcile the information you gather through imports whether they are manual or automated.

Managing IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

These are other key features that should not be overlooked. The ability to manage providers like Amazon, Azure, Salesforce, Adobe, and Dropbox is in any great ITAM vendor’s portfolio.

There are many other features you may want to consider. Some may include complex licensing for apps that run in the data center or data center analytics. You may also want to consider financial modeling and applications controls.

By sifting through the ITAM rubble and identifying key features and capabilities, you will uncover the diamond of vendors and establish a successful ITAM solution.

Learn why LANDESK was named Champion by Info-Tech this year!

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What Is The Real Cost of a Software Audit?

Software audit pain

The threat of your organization experiencing a software audit in the near future is genuine. Gartner predicts that 68% of organizations can expect at least one software audit request in the next 12 months. And 52% of organizations say their software has been audited multiple times.1

Software vendors leverage audits as legitimate revenue generators. They’re looking to protect their intellectual property, and are in search of their next target by monitoring inconsistent purchasing or recordkeeping. Anything perceived as suspicious in your organization could trigger an audit, and failing an audit could trigger more audits.

Having established that your next audit may be closer than you thought, it’s important to implement best practices to avoid the financial drain associated with an audit. But have you ever asked yourself how much a software audit really costs? While most organizations recognize the obvious costs involved, few comprehend the actual price tag. Let’s consider some of the potential costs you may face.

Settlements

If your organization is using licenses it hasn’t paid for, be prepared for some hefty fines. The global commercial value of unlicensed PC software installations has reached $60 billion. Vendors have a significant incentive to collect on unlicensed software out there.

Settlements depend on a variety of factors. These may include alleged damages, and whether or not the company wants to include specific provisions like a confidentiality clause. Settlements can be negotiated and many are resolved with an out-of-court settlement. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) reports that most cases settled out-of-court are between 40% and 60% of the BSA’s original demand.

Often vendors won’t grant payment terms longer than six months. To make matters worse, if auditors find that an organization did not fully disclose all information during the audit process, they can hold the company in breach of the settlement agreement.

The bottom line is there is no way to tell how much a settlement will cost. It all depends on the breach-of-compliance level. However, 52% of companies felt that their losses through unlicensed use of software amounted to more than 10% of their entire revenue.

True-ups

True-ups are the way software vendors ensure license compliance. They work to make sure organizations are paying for the software licenses they use. Auditors often require copies of new license purchases with a compliance certificate 30 to 60 days following a settlement. Businesses are usually required to pay full price for unlicensed software in use, which is a financial drain itself given that most software is mass negotiated at a discount. The average true-up cost for companies with over $50 million in revenue is $263,000.

 

Time and Productivity

A software audit takes time and resources, and it disrupts “business as usual”. Many workers experience significant strain on their daily jobs resulting in delayed projects, changes in strategy, and even alternate plans if an audit becomes too lengthy. It’s possible an audit could take up to a year or more to complete. Time, people, and productivity loss account for a large share of the overall cost of an audit.

Without question, software audits are increasingly more common in the business world. The real cost of an audit depends on an organization’s size, scale, and scope—and its compliance status. Indeed, businesses are responsible to license the software they deploy within their environment. By tracking software assets, they ensure the best possible outcome from a vendor’s targeted audit.

 

1 Survey of 250 IT decision-makers conducted by Vanson Bourne in the UK, USA and France in November 2012

Better management of federal government IT assets is where the rubber meets the road

AmericanFlagKeyboard(own)Recently, I’ve had to go through a pain every car owner goes through every 50,000 miles or so—replacing tires. For me, this wasn’t a quick decision. I’m no car expert, so for weeks I’ve been asking myself questions like, is the auto mechanic being honest with me, I wonder how far I can drive before blowing my tires completely, how much tread do I really need to be safe? These questions reminded me of a recent article I read about the federal governments issues with proper IT asset management (ITAM).

Your ex-employees are walking away with more than you think – asset lifecycle management

Businessman Choosing The Perfect Candidate For The JobAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 965,000 people in the professional and business services industry left their jobs in December 2014. In an age of massive data breaches, strict compliance requirements, and constrained IT budgets, the inevitable questions come up: Have these organizations shut down their ex-employees’ accounts, logins, and corporate information access? Have they reclaimed their corporate hardware and software assets?

World’s most expensive supply closet: Offboarding your IT assets

ThinkstockPhotos-162842597After years of working in a position I no longer enjoyed, I decided to make a career change. When the day came to pack up my belongings and start out on a fresh adventure with a new employer, I wondered what would become of my laptop and desktop computer. As I turned in my belongings, I noticed a large supply closet overflowing with older equipment that had built up over time. In just about every position I’ve held, I remember some sort of IT graveyard, where servers, computers, and even printers were stored at the end of their lives. Some were small and almost non-existent, while others filled rooms. This begged the question; what happens to all expired IT hardware?