Integrated ITAM for Finance Teams

The relationship between IT asset management (ITAM), finance, and procurement has primarily been at arm’s length. The CFO and finance teams have tended to make significant planning decisions based on spreadsheets thrown over the transom by the CIO and IT teams. Planning is almost always an annual exercise, and financial updates are made quarterly to ensure that costs were mapping to projections. This, however, is starting to change, several factors have recently made ITAM and IT costs more top-of-mind for CFOs, finance, and procurement teams.

  • COVID-19 and remote work have made IT cost planning more complicated and much more volatile
  • Many traditional software vendors and regulatory agencies are increasingly turning to heavy-handed enforcement of software licensing agreements and data privacy as a means of generating revenue
  • Cloud computing costs and associated hybrid models have injected both uncertainty and risk into IT budgets

Most CFOs or finance execs know they have some sort of ITAM system in place (since they signed the checks for the license). But beyond that, it’s essential to understand how ITAM has evolved and how it is now not just one product category but multiple, all of which can make their lives significantly easier. Traditional legacy ITAM focuses on counting boxes and software licenses. This model began to evolve over a decade ago with the rise of BYOD, online software, and SaaS. Office365 and G Suite plus heavy reliance on personal smartphones have obliterated past models for IT asset management. Cloud has injected another layer of complexity. 

To date, most ITAM products have chosen to tackle specific pieces of the asset management story. Traditional ITAM still counts boxes. Software Asset Management (SAM) counts software licenses. Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) adds a security focus to ITAM. Sub-ITAM products include Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs). More recently we are seeing cloud accounting and management products and SaaS license management. For finance teams, this usually meant extracting data from each system and entering it into financial systems like ERPs or financial planning suites. 

Integrated ITAM Unifies All IT Asset Data Into a Single Pane of Glass

More advanced and modern integrated ITAM now runs as an orchestration layer above all of these sub-ITAM categories. Integrated ITAM can pull all IT asset data, including asset age, license status, repair history, associated user and department, and cost information, into a single database. This streamlines financial management by enabling finance teams to rely on a single integrated source to deliver all the IT asset data they require. 

Because Integrated ITAM automates the data acquisition process, finance and procurement teams can also receive updates far more frequently, allowing them to make faster and more accurate decisions based on new data. Integrated ITAM also dramatically streamlines complex finance processes like IT asset depreciation and identifying stranded licenses or hidden assets. Conversely, integrated ITAM can also provide a holistic view of all license status and surface potential license violations more quickly. License violations can lead to substantial penalties, ranging into the seven figures – enough to force companies to change earnings estimates.

How Smart CFOs And Finance Teams Are Leveraging Integrated ITAM 

Naturally, any good CFO is interested in all business activity with a financial impact.  Proactive IT asset management can impact or improve outcomes of the following direct financial issues:

Managing financial risk by informing IT spending and requirement forecasts

For most companies, IT asset spend is a meaningful contributor to overall expenses, ranging from 2% to over 7%, depending on the vertical, according to a CIO survey by Deloitte. Better management of IT asset spending can fall straight to the bottom line and is a powerful multiplier of free cash flow. 

Enabling comprehensive IT asset inventories and valuations for ongoing planning and due diligence

One of the most significant benefits of Integrated ITAM for CFOs, finance, and procurement is automatic and far more accurate IT asset inventories that become push-button processes. Accurate inventories unlock more accurate procurement planning, better asset utilization, and more effective asset depreciation scheduling. This also empowers better vendor management by allowing procurement teams to identify which products are the most repair-prone or popular and identify opportunities for consolidated purchasing and negotiations with vendors.

Calculating business outcomes and costs for IT asset portions of business projects

 IT projects are notorious for cost overruns and delays. A key measurement vector for IT projects is ITAM data. ITAM is also an excellent way to associate accountability and cost center with projects and spends. 

Optimizing IT spend through more analysis of IT asset usage – cost optimization

Modern, integrated ITAM continuously feeds data into financial systems to enable better planning. For CFOs, this can mean optimizing and planning based on data that is current rather than one or two quarters old. 

Affording detailed cost center accountability for IT consumption and purchases 

CFOs hate surprises, and modern, Integrated ITAM reduces hidden usage risks by automatically capturing unexpected costs and surfacing them quickly. Equally important, Integrated ITAM gives CFOs a tool for measuring and rewarding more frugal and rational IT spending behavior at the cost center level. 

Enabling comprehensive IT asset inventories and valuations for ongoing planning and due diligence

One of the most significant benefits of Integrated ITAM for CFOs, finance, and procurement is automatic and far more accurate IT asset inventories that become push-button processes. Accurate inventories unlock more accurate procurement planning, better asset utilization, and more effective asset depreciation scheduling. 

Conclusion: Integrated ITAM Supports Finance With Comprehensive IT Lifecycle Management

Sum up the above benefits, and you arrive at a complete picture of all IT assets throughout the entire lifecycle, from procurement to onboarding to usage to retirement. For Integrated ITAM that acquires and analyzes spend and usage data on cloud infrastructure and SaaS, this becomes a crucial tool for finance teams shifting spend preferences from CapEx to OpEx. By affording finance teams more accurate and up-to-date information, they are empowered to go beyond buying, counting, and planning assets to a new world of delivering more strategic insights on IT usage and patterns through the lens of finance. We will dive deeper into the topic of finance and ITAM in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!

Sign up to our newsletter.

Get the latest articles on all things data delivered straight to your inbox.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin