Asset Management, the word itself, means something different to every person in the IT department. To the help desk analyst, it’s another clunky system to enter data into. For the IT Director, a knock on their attempt to show IT as an asset to the business. So, what does Asset Management really do? The question is, what does it prevent? I come from the reseller side of things, one of the best EA Asset Managers in the world and I have seen firsthand what a lassie-faire mentality to asset management practices can do to an organization. Sure you can ask your manufacturers to send you reports, pay a third party to provide a GAP analysis when your’ true up is due, or just wing it. Most successful business don’t get there by winging it and I like to consider the IT department as its own business entirely.
Spreadsheets, procurement systems, asset tags. All of these things are independent means of tracking hardware and software. Companies smaller than 30 employees can get away with managing their assets on a spreadsheet but for companies over 100 employees, managing their assets via spreadsheets and PO systems becomes haphazard. Ask yourself, are you really keeping track of everything? How much time is spent, just copying and pasting cells?
“It’s not ideal, but it works. We understand where everything is and who has what.”
Until the letter of doom enters your location of business, is opened and read. ‘Not ideal’ will never ring truer.
Audit. Compliance. Piracy.
The three little words, that send the business and the IT department in a tailspin. Let me walk you through the audit process.
A formal FedEx letter is delivered to the IT department. Enclosed is a crisp, thick, electric white letter on official letter head. Your eyes wonder the page and you notice the language is that of a legal document. The words that jump out like cat dropped in a tub include, ‘compliance’, ‘audit’, ‘license’. You start to panic and phone your boss immediately. After the initial halt to the work day, sounding multiple alarms, and getting nothing done for the rest of the day, leadership calls an emergency meeting. Everyone on your team and procurement is drilled. Action items include: Calling your lawyers, your resellers, maybe even your manufacturer rep.
‘What does this mean?’
‘Can you help us?’
‘What do we do now?’
You pull your initial SCCM reporting, cross reference PO’s from your PO system, (Which by the way, PO’s are not considered valid sources for licenses and will never stand up) ask your LAR to send you any reporting they can get their hands on and the work begins. Oh wait, that pesky letter. In the meantime, whether you like it or not, a rep from Deliotte phones and schedules a four hour kick off meeting for your audit. You get ahead by clearing your calendar of meetings on that day.
Everything stops. All projects start moving at a snail’s pace because it’s all hands on deck for this audit. You will have to go and count every potential license on every desktop, every server. You will have to research and understand how each version of every instance is licensed and how virtualization effects it.
It’s a long gregarious six to eight months and just when you’re done, the negotiation begins. Add another three months of fighting, paying lawyers and internal strife your audit is complete. Your budget brought down to zero and everything, everyone is under the microscope.
You can prevent this. It is bound to happen, maybe not in the past 10 years at your company, but the economy is a massive driver. Software companies are increasing the audit rate because the VLK’s can be installed as much as a clients’ heart desires and a check cut when the budget allows for it. The investment for a great asset management software is pennies on the dollar in comparison to the hard and soft costs lost during audit.
Cireson can help you get the tools in place to start managing your assets. Just email us at email@example.com.