There seems to be a holding pattern that many companies fall into, in which their IT assets are:
- Not fully visible, and so
- Inventory remains incomplete, and so
- Costs and maintenance owners are not well defined, and so
- Money is spent for redundant investments, while requirements for new investments are dealt with reactively, and even worse
- Changes made to the infrastructure are done at grave peril of endangering service performance, while risking compliance violations, and sometimes even the security of the entire infrastructure
One EMA consulting client unearthed the fact that a firewall device which they thought was in Test was actually serving a critical and active role in production. It wasn't being properly maintained, but luckily the client discovered in time - in this case as a part of a CMDB System initiative.
The ease with which basic inventory updates get overlooked is especially evident when many of the devices, network and systems, etc, reside outside of headquarters, or prominent data centers or NOCs. For instance, according to one director of network ops for a large manufacturing company with remote locations spread across North America I spoke to just last month: "Our remote ops people are supposed to keep the infrastructure inventory current and document when changes are made -- but it's just not that important to them. They're too busy putting out fires."
Sound familiar? This is a variant of putting something on the back burner -- because you, yourself, are already standing in the flames.
But there are signs of progress. EMA is researching how asset management and financial planning are becoming better supported with change management, analytics, and visibility into application usage. Here are some new and interesting data points from EMA research across 290 mid-tier and enterprise respondents on "Next Generation Asset Management" or NGAM:
- Thirty per cent said they were organised separately by domains (network, systems, telecommunications, etc.) for asset management
- Twenty-one per cent managed applications and systems together, while network and telecommunications were separate.
- Eighteen per cent had integrated network, systems and applications, but managed telecommunications separately.
- But a striking twenty-eight per cent replied that they had a central asset management and financial planning organisation that cuts across all of IT. I believe this should be taken as a sign of progress.
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