Business Intelligence for IT Asset and Configuration Management

Filed under: by: Art Style and Design

Service Level Management

To be effective SLA’s (Service level Agreements) need to be monitored and measured. The ITIL states:

”Nothing should be included in an SLA unless it can be effectively monitored and measured at a commonly agreed point. The importance of this cannot be overstressed, as inclusions of items that cannot be effectively monitored almost always result in disputes and eventual loss of faith in the SLA process.”

This level of information provides benefits such as:

  • Quality of services and experience.
  • IT service continuity procedures become more focused.
  • A clearer view of current IT capacity.
  • Better information on current services.
  • Greater flexibility for the business through improved understanding of IT support.
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction.
  • Improvements in security.

Financial and Management of IT Services

With effective financial management, IT can contribute to financial planning. Analytical access to the CMDB allows the understanding of expected maintenance costs, license fees, license renewal dates and replacement costs. Cost recovery and expenditure profiles prove to be accurate.

IT Compliance

More businesses are falling foul of copyright laws or compliance regulations. The adherence to legal obligations via the monitoring of legal and illegal assets is now critical. It is not enough to claim ignorance through poor IT management; this is just as much a crime as purchasing pirated software.

Capacity Management

With effective analysis of your CMDB comes the ability to calculate capacity through questions such as:
  • What assets have we got?
  • What is our resource utilisation prediction for next year of even the next five years?
  • What is the variation between actual and forecasted capacity.

Being Pro-active

According to a recent article in ‘Information Age’, June 2005, it is possible to group companies levels of maturity within the world of IT asset and configuration management. The three stages are:
  • Initial Stage; companies create, through processes and tools, a correct database of all assets and devices.
  • Second Stage; the complete asset life cycle is captured from procurement to disposal.
  • Third Stage; this area is all about pro-actively using the management information available to enable effective decision making.

According to this article 60% of companies are still at the initial stage, 30% at the second stage with less than 10% of companies able to perform pro-active asset management.

Companies that strive to undertake pro-active asset and configuration management need more than just simple analysis for a given point in time, they need to compare actual versus expected expenses over time, asset retirement tracking analysis, software compliance/license expense optimization, contract expiration forecasting, and cost distribution over geographical boundaries and activities.

In Summary

This article has looked at some of the key elements behind the business case to implement an analytical capability to support the management of any companies IT infrastructure. Within a pro-active organisation the development and maintenance of this information architecture should be self funding as TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) savings in the region of 25% are achievable.

About the Author

Andy Graham is Managing Director of Koios Associates Limited, a leading information technology consulting company. As an expert in this field he was one of the founding UK team members of Business Objects and later ran Sybase’s Northern European Business Intelligence organisation. Andy can be contacted at +44 (0) 7973 571220 or by e-mail at
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