High-performance IT teams focus on providing uninterrupted workplace technology to make it easier for employees to be highly productive. Application delivery changes due to cloud architecture, a deeply technology-savvy workforce and the evolving landscape of workplace technology makes it very challenging for IT teams to be aligned with their business. We studied five key areas of how IT teams leverage Software Asset Management (SAM) Software to drive productivity in their organisation.
1. Focus on Day-to-Day Touchpoints Between IT and Employees
SAM analysts spend most of their time managing and monitoring their Configuration Management Database (CMDB). An effective yet flexible setup of CMDB is a combination of having a good SAM tool as well as know-how of implementing SAM solutions.
An IT Asset Management solution (sometimes also known as SAM software) ensures dynamic yet reliable delivery of complex services (at scale) like Terminal Services, Processors, Cloud, Cores and App Performance.
Virtualisation, managing multiple software versions, licence usage, compliance and procurement activities can all become purely mechanical to-do jobs which can be automated (to a degree) using a contemporary SAM solution.
Balancing local IT initiatives vs corporate IT policies requires a measured and monitored approach. Leading IT teams realise the siloed culture of IT governance is no longer compliance-effective.
Most IT teams predominantly view compliance from an audit or usage view, whereas reverse compliance – i.e. protecting and ring-fencing the IP rights of your company – can also be well-managed using a SAM tool.
Contemporary high-performance IT teams tend to focus on reducing total cost of ownership, balancing risks and costs of owning IT Assets and focus on reducing manual efforts.
For example, Swinerton deployed Freshdesk’s ITSM solution Freshservice and experienced successful adoption of the tool from their employees. Not only do the employees use Freshdesk’s ticketing system but also view it as a knowledge base where they can find answers to most of their queries.
2. Efficient IT Delivery Requires Connected IT Teams
Leading IT teams leverage SAM solutions to deliver IT efficiently. This quite often means efficiency enhancements on how the IT team operates and the workflows (IT processes) that employees adopt to use IT.
One of the core areas of efficiency improvements is typically managing hardware and software. An efficient SAM solution helps companies create and maintain licensing information in one place. For example, fundamental information like Manufacturer SKU, User Rights, Support Contracts, and licence types are consolidated and available in SAM solution. Leading IT teams use such information to create a framework for the automation of licence deployments.
The degree to which you can automate your inventory processes depends on the SAM tools you have. For example, there are some solutions which will use file header data to recognise inventory and there are others which use deeper information from discovery tools, CMDB and deployment configuration.
For example, if you have 500 machines, each with a copy of Photoshop, you would expect a SAM solution to report 500 copies of Photoshop. But if there have been upgrades and multiple versions installed, then sometimes SAM tools can report 20 to 30% more installations than you have.
Typically, processes related to software installation, deployment and usage can almost be fully automated. Areas that require manual intervention are compliance and vendor contract management.
Most IT teams today operate via virtual teams. Whilst technology still cannot beat face-to-face communications (you can read the research on the effectiveness of face-to-face communications here), the effectiveness of communication across the virtual and office-based IT teams can be significantly enhanced if they all have access to a common IT information platform – your SAM solution. The team efficiency is driven by focusing on analysing IT information (which can be viewed from the SAM tool) rather than collecting information.
For example, Invocare used Certero’s AssetStudio to manage their complex network across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. As a result, Myles Miller (Digital Business Infrastructure Team Leader) suggests Invocare have regained control of their IT Assets.
3. A Framework to Safeguard IT Assets
SAM solutions offer the framework to tightly ring-fence the IT assets of a company. Using the network monitoring and inventory management capabilities of SAM tools, cyber risks can be greatly reduced.
Equally, missteps by network administrators and users—failures to patch vulnerabilities in legacy systems, misconfigured settings, violations of standard procedures—open the door to the overwhelming majority of successful attacks. The National Cyber Security Centre (a UK government organisation), has published a handy executive summary for cybersecurity.
Almost all SAM solutions will help you swiftly to adopt the guidelines mentioned by the NCSC. Leading IT teams fully leverage SAM as a common IT information tool, and use it for communication between virtual and office-based IT teams and to ring-fence their IT Assets.
4. Cyber Education Requires a Common Platform
Harvard Business Review published an insightful article, “Cybersecurity’s Human Factor: Lessons from the Pentagon” covering the importance of employee training on managing cyber threats.
Most cyber experts suggest that the greatest threat of cyber-attacks is from ill-informed users of your IT network. Leading IT teams use a SAM tool to establish an incident-reporting culture, monitor user adherence to security training, and to record employees’ awareness of the security risks.
Leading IT teams use a SAM tool to help their employees manage their passwords effectively.
5. SAM Data and Upcoming Machine Learning Technologies Are Complementary for IT Architecture Decisions
Top-performing IT teams work very closely with operational and executive management. In the near future, the advancement of machine learning will make it easier to add an additional dimensionality to SAM data; the businesses that use SAM tools will be able to use both SAM data and operational data to drive more value from their organisational data. (Below is an overview from Dave Meyer of Brocade on what Machine learning can do)
Most experts predict that IOT-driven hardware on the IT network will produce significant data. Using supervised or unsupervised machine learning algorithms, organisations will be able to drive more value from their IT network.