Asset Management Strategies
More than 50 percent of IT organizations have some form of asset management (AM) in place. Many of these implementations are simple Excel spreadsheets owned by various silo organizations (e.g., help desk, operations, procurement). However, fewer than 10 percent of these implementations can be considered strategic. For instance, there is little or no leverage between the different silos. In addition, the accuracy of the repositories is horrendous (< 50 percent), and there is massive duplication of effort. This problem has recently gained executive-level visibility because of large-scale projects such as Y2K and ERP initiatives, which uncovered significant inefficiencies as a result of not knowing asset configurations. As such, many IT organizations are proceeding with strategic AM implementations.
We believe the number of strategic AM implementations will increase to 50 percent by 2002 as a result of the executive-level sponsorship and insight gained through these inventory assessment initiatives (e.g., lost assets, excessive software licenses purchased) and better vendor offerings in the IT portfolio AM marketplace. These initiatives will include strategic integrations with problem- and change-management functions, which will enable better insight into the real cost of ownership, going beyond initial purchase costs to include ongoing maintenance and support costs. Visibility into the real costs of ownership will ultimately influence vendor and supplier purchasing decisions.
IT organizations often struggle in determining where to begin managing their IT assets (e.g., receiving, purchasing, placement). Indeed, the best time to begin tracking and managing IT assets is as early as possible in the purchase requisition phase. By integrating procurement directly into portfolio AM solutions, contract information, purchase price, and other valuable cost-of-ownership information, it can be fed directly into an IT portfolio AM solution. Consequently, we believe IT portfolio AM integration into e-procurement solutions will become commonplace by 2002/03 as IT organizations strive to integrate purchasing information into their asset life-cycle management. Indeed, e-procurement itself will become a critical component of IT organizations' overall internal e-services strategy to provide enhanced employee self-service capabilities to reduce support and service costs.
Additionally, our research indicates that communication between IT groups and finance organizations about IT asset purchases and disposal or reuse of IT assets is deficient. Indeed, fixed-asset systems often reflect highly inaccurate accounting of IT assets. Consequently, integrating AM into ERP or fixed-asset systems, where the IT portfolio AM system will feed the fixed-asset solution rolled-up information about the change in use or reuse and disposal of IT assets, will be critical by 2002/03.
Strategic IT portfolio AM not only entails application and functional integration, but also requires process integration. For example, the IT operations group needs to have processes aligned with change management processes and the IT service desk to ensure ongoing accuracy of the portfolio AM database. Our research indicates that there are two primary barriers to implementing a strategic IT AM solution: technological and organizational. Of these two barriers, the organizational is the more difficult to overcome, because silos fight for control over processes, tools, databases, and people. To that end, we believe IT executives will combat this problem by 2003/04 by structuring an asset center-of-excellence (COE) organization whose focus will be on end-to-end life-cycle management of IT assets.
One of the key responsibilities of the asset COE will be to determine the processes that cross-functional groups must abide by to maintain the accuracy and usefulness of the data. Customers of this group will include the primary IT AM constituents (e.g., CIO, service desk, operations) as well as corporate finance stakeholders. Consequently, the asset COE will also be responsible for working with these constituents to integrate AM and asset leverage into their operational and business processes (e.g., trouble ticketing/help desk, change management, purchasing, fixed asset). Vendor offerings will enable this process by providing applications with open interfaces as well as fully integrated problem-, asset-, and change-management suites themselves by 2000-02.