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IT Business Value: Three Paths

For the last decade, tools to count and manage IT assets have been viewed as cost centers. Managing ITAM, UEM, CMDB, SAM and MDM tools was a necessary requirement to passing audits, maintaining compliance, and keeping security. No CIO or CISO viewed these tools as ways to generate value, in part because these systems were stovepiped and separated from other parts of the business. What’s changed is now IT teams have access to platforms that integrate all these point solutions and can also integrate with systems from other business units. The end result is an integrated platform for monitoring and orchestrating all IT assets. With this integration comes the ability to generate measurable business value well beyond counting boxes or licenses. The key question is then: how can you measure IT business value creation, and what metrics should you use? 

New employee tech setup time

When a new employee joins a company, they need IT to set up their tech. This ranges from laptops and mobile devices and mini-projectors for sales reps to large monitors and powerful desktop computers for designers to access to cloud infrastructure for developers and Site Reliability Engineers (SREs). Every employee has their own tech needs and tech preferences. Every hour that a new employee wastes waiting for the tech they need is an hour of wasted money. When IT teams can easily pull in data from HR hiring managers on start dates and required tech for new hires, then they can ensure that the proper tech is set up even before the new employee “arrives” for their first day. This is a relatively easy metric to track: an IT manager can create an integrated report that pulls in the status of each technology request for a new employee. Doing this requires an agentless ITAM or UEM aggregation platform that polls data from all the IT management subsystems at regular intervals. 

How to Show IT Business Value

Create a metric such as “Time to New Employee Tech Setup” and track how long it takes for each new hire. Ideally, this metric should decline over time. Multiply the decline against the rough value of employee time saved or lost and you can create a credible financial measure for value creation of IT asset management and UEM. The soft but still important benefit, as well, is that reduced tech setup time translates into a better new hire experience. 

IT audit resource consumption and error reduction

Planning and completing IT audits is among the most time-consuming tasks for IT departments. Audits often require multiple staff to spend weeks at a stretch merging data from spreadsheets and painstakingly cross-checking to reduce errors and duplications in manually maintained asset logs. A system that integrates all data sources that IT auditors pore over would save considerable staff time and associated expense. 

How to Show IT Business Value

Measure how many staff hours are spent on your IT audit. If you hire a third-party firm to conduct the audit, ask them to track how much time they are spending on the audit. You can then multiple the rough value of each hour to create an aggregate audit resource consumption metric that can be compared year-over-year. This metric can also demonstrate real monetary value. Similarly, count the number of audit errors each year and track the decline. Error reduction is a little harder to value precisely, but a downward trend is a decent proxy for improved security and also translates into improved procurement and purchasing efficiency. 

IT asset utilization rate

Buying too many laptops, monitors or servers is a waste of valuable capital. Likewise, taking too long to wipe and reuse existing tech inventory is wasteful because it keeps valuable IT assets on the shelf for too long. Asset utilization measurement is further complicated with cloud infrastructure: allowing a large instance on AWS to idle for even a few hours can consume considerable cost. By creating a control and monitoring plane that unifies all the various asset, configuration and endpoint management systems into one platform, the challenges of measuring and monitoring IT asset utilization rates are considerably diminished. Agentless discovery and aggregation of data from all existing systems (ITAM, UEM, CMDB, etc.) is preferable and less complicated to set up and maintain. With all the data centralized and mechanisms in place to continuously monitor use of deployed assets, IT asset utilization rate can become a key measure of company operational and capital efficiency. 

How to Show IT Business Value

Aggregate data on what assets are in use on a daily or hourly basis. Include hardware, mobile devices, SaaS and cloud infrastructure. For SaaS and cloud infrastructure, it is crucial to monitor actual usage and not just log-ins and idle time while the asset is deployed. Measure the initial utilization rates for each category of assets and remeasure every month or quarter to see changes off the baseline over time. Increases in utilization rates will help procurement and finance more accurately model future expenditures and IT costs - and, ultimately, help the business grow faster with less money spent. 

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