2023 brings a whole new batch of challenges for businesses. When talking with our clients and partners, the reoccurring theme we are hearing is Optimization. From our enterprise clients to our SMB clients, optimization is key for 2023.
The thing is as we drill deeper with each of our customers, optimization means something different for each organization. For some optimization is simply cost savings, and for others it is strategically investing in their challenged technology areas.
In this series we will focus on the core areas of optimization that Vsol is actively engaged in with our clients. These posts will focus not only on what optimization opportunities our clients are doing, but also what our clients expect to gain from it.
Who are these clients and what are their areas of optimization?
· Manufacturing – Technology Asset management (TAM)
· Manufacturing – Smart Hands Managed services for remote locations
· Retail– Resiliency (BC/DR/Security) optimization
· Software – Cloud U-Turn (repatriation)
Keep in mind, in each of these posts, these are our actual customer projects, and there are some details that will not be published for obvious reasons.
Our first of five posts is about Asset management. I know it is not glamorous, sexy or even fun to talk about asset management, and most organizations will say “We have already have a tool and a CMDB.”
Sadly, most organizations start their asset management initiative with a purchasing a tool (ServiceNow, or other) because it promises automated discovery capabilities that will make life easy. The hard truth organizations learn to late, is that without defining and documenting lifecycle processes from procurement, enterprise architecture, HR and other asset change agents, you end up with a CMDB full of assets and data that means nothing. It is the equivalent of filling a jar with M&Ms and saying they know we have 1000 M&Ms, but we don’t know how many of each color, we don’t know their expiration date, and were not sure if some of them are Skittles.
Vsol’s own data from past asset and security discovery projects shows exactly this point:
Less than 10% of organizations have greater than 60% accuracy of just their data center assets
43% of organizations have an average of 33% accuracy of just their data center assets
An average of 23% of decommissioned assets are still running in data center environments
This data does not include laptops, phones, software, or cloud assets which can be even more difficult to track accurately.
A Global Manufacturing Company – Current Project
Years of business diversification, data center and cloud growth coupled with inevitable staff turnover left them with multiple tools, databases, spreadsheets, and an asset accounting depreciation issue; not to mention a security nightmare. This situation led to their defining a key strategic project to better understand their overall technology management process.
Our client came to Vsol with specific goals to address their Technology Asset management (TAM) needs:
Establish procurement, on-boarding, and off-boarding processes for remote work force
Establish Life-cycle baseline processes (governance) for all assets
Continually monitor for changes (Adds, Moves, Deletes)
Track and validate crucial updates (firmware, security patches) to network devices and servers
Automate the discovery and inventorying of all networked technology assets
Provide an understanding of your capacity and which assets are delivering what service
Catalog assets for recommissioning and repurposing
Ensure IT operational security and compliance standards are being met
Improve cost management – build reporting and alerting so the client can track the cost of their technological assets over time, including the cost of hardware, software licenses, cloud usage, cloud provisioning and maintenance.
Integration of ERP, TAM, HR systems to automate workflows This ensures on-boarding, off-boarding, purchasing, accounting processes all communicate and share data to increase employee productivity, and simplify compliance, warranty tracking etc.
Integrate Data center, Cloud, Application and End-user TAM practices and integrate into the ITSM (CMDB) solutions to improve support functions.
”You do not rise to your goals; you fall to your systems.” -James Clear, Atomic Habits
Starting with governance we started documenting the processes of procurement, HR on-boarding and off boarding, enterprise architecture asset life cycles, and reporting. These processes and workflows built the foundations and activities required to truly build automation and drive the long-term management of assets successfully.
In addition to workflow discovery, Vsol also start the physical and logical discovery of assets and asset tagging. Combining physical audits with logical/automation discovery, we can discover and start populating a greenfield asset management database. As this database is validated, data is then security transferred into CMDBs and other databases via secure APIs. This ensure that the quality of data in the CMDB is extremely high. These discoveries also allow for detailed tactical steps for “Decommissioned”, “unknown” and “critical” devices. These tactical steps increase security, assist in the alignment of assets to business units, and lower costs from removing assets.
These are the initial steps our client is taking to systematically build governance, maturity, automation and data around their asset management. This is phase 1 of a multi-phase initiative that will put their data center assets in the 95% accuracy range. Once those assets are completed, then phase 2 and phase 3 will start to layout application assets, cloud assets, and end-user assets.
Stay tuned for more information on this project and also what new projects we will talking about.