Asset management finds surprising savings – CIO speaker

Companies often don't know what they own

An organisation estimated it had 700 PCs, but an audit showed it actually had 1200.

A company that operates in New Zealand and Australia discovered during the contract renegotiation process,that it was paying two suppliers for the same equipment.

Another company achieved a 40% IT budget cut after some hard negotiating with suppliers, but central to the process was accurate inventory data, gained after an audit of its IT asset base by a third party.

Those were some of the examples given by KPMG risk management information director Alan Clifford during a talk on asset management at the CIO Conference in Auckland earlier this month.

Asset management programmes and software can help with inventory control by preventing duplicate purchases and can help achieve a reduced TCO (total cost of ownership) throughout the organisation, he says.

Other areas where it can help are in software licence compliance, where it can ensure you're not paying any more in licence fees than you should be and it also has benefits for operational monitoring and control, disaster recovery planning and budgeting.

Installing an asset management system comes at a price, Clifford acknowledged during his presentation.

"There's the initial cost of buying an asset management or configuration product, the one-off time and effort involved in finding, recording and maintaining [inventory and inventory data]."

There's also the ongoing time and effort involved in maintaing the system and keeping that inventory data accurate, but it can be worth it for the savings achieved, he says.

"You need to identify what assets will be tracked, develop a disciplined process of tracking and controlling assets, develop and maintain policies, implement and maintain appropriate asset management databases, systems and tools and do a training and awareness campaign."

IT asset management software vendors include BMC, whose Patrol product KPMG uses, Computer Associates and Altiris.

Analysts have sounded a note of caution on asset management tools, however, with Gartner's Patricia Adams telling Computerworld US "you're really looking at re-engineering processes rather than using tools," and Meta's William Snyder noting "People buy a tool and think it's going to solve their problem, [but] it doesn't work that way.

"You have to know what your problem is and then configure your software and processes to tackle that problem."

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