Business Intelligence for IT Asset and Configuration Management

Filed under: by: Art Style and Design


In this new era of technology and information, businesses are now so dependent on technology that an IT department’s ability to deliver expected levels of service directly impacts a company’s bottom line. It is critical for organisations to identify, manage and optimise all IT changes so that the service levels, that businesses rely upon, can be maintained. It’s therefore no surprise that the alignment between corporate profitability and IT expenditure is at the top of the agenda for executives in most companies. The need for sound metrics that can be used to measure the cost and efficiency of the organisation’s most important IT-enabled business processes is now paramount.

Conventional wisdom will see you purchasing (or building) a configuration management database (CMDB), but this is only half the story. The challenge still exists as to how do you transform service management and asset management detailed operational data into meaningful, business-focused intelligence allowing the analysis of metrics to give you a consolidated view of your business. An organisation needs to be able to easily drill-down through the information to identify causal relationships or trends that can not be seen through static reporting. Research from META Group, for example, highlights that many server are utilised for less than 25% of a 24-hour day due to poor IT asset management.

To be successful an enterprise needs to have in place a viable information architecture that addresses the needs of IT service and asset management. In other words, by effectively managing IT change, asset and service levels you can deliver proactive IT support that will reduce the occurrence of IT failures, improve service levels and customer satisfaction, and reduce fixed and variable costs.

This article explores the business case for the implementation of a business intelligence solution for the analysis of the organisations asset and configuration management information.

The Need to Measure

Traditionally IT performance has been measured in terms of service-level agreements (SLA’s) and potentially total cost of ownership (TCO). Both these methods have great value as a contributor to day-to-day management and strategic planning, however to understand the true effectiveness of IT in business terms it is necessary to build metrics that tie granular-level business indicators with the IT platforms on which they are provided.

For example, META Group reviewed 6 retail financial institutes and identified that the IT-related costs of managing one customer account varied from $14.75 (worst case) down to just $9.80 (best case). This analysis goes further by concluding that a staggering 25% cost savings can be achieved by taking ownership of asset procurement, optimisation, and fiscal stewardship across all enterprise IT resources.

Without an analytical addition to your IT asset management system, your organisation will be:

  • Unable to understand costs, cash flow, budgets, in addition to providing a credible charge-back system to allocate IT costs to the business lines.
  • In a weak negotiating position in relation to contracts.
  • Unable to understand the correlation between IT and Business.
  • Unable to forecast and monitor the usage of their assets effectively and therefore identify IT assets that are underutilised.

IT Asset Management

IT practitioners need comprehensive insight in order to supply the business with the information it needs while at the same time enhancing operational efficiency to drive down costs and still maintaining an agreed level of service. Providing key measures on Service Level Agreements ensures clarity and transparency to all, while driving understanding of the associated costs of IT assets makes it clear where and what effect IT spending has had for the business.
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