Knowing the old adage from Peter Drucker has become cliche for IT professionals in the last few years, it would seem safe to assume that we would be looking at the places in our collective service offerings that would benefit from this simple notion to increase the effectiveness of our delivery and satisfaction of our consumers.
The rise over the past 5 years of rhetoric surrounding 'predictive analytics' and 'business analytic' softwares and services would only seem to reinforce the idea that not only are IT providers thinking about these concepts, but are ready to act on the troves of high-quality data they have at their fingertips.
Yet, unfortunately, this doesn't seem to broadly be the case for many IT organizations. Through a mixture of human nature and lack of focus we are robbing ourselves of some of the most effective data points and automation opportunities within our organizations - things that add to up to serious savings and bottom-line dollars - the ability to manage, track, operate and effectively retire IT assets through their entire lifecycle.
For some quick examples, here are a few items that are broadly running at sub-optimized levels across large swaths of corproations for which IT is not the primary buisness driver:
- Ability to effectively initiate depreciation and payment for an IT asset
- Ability to understand what layered products exist on your IT assets (namely servers, but SAN, mainframes, and increasingly network devices) and how they contribute to cost and complexity
- Ability to end support and depreciation for IT assets in a timely manner providing bottom-line savings to revenue
- Ability to recoup space, power and related environmental costs (heating, cooling, etc)
However (you knew there had to be a reason i wrote this blog), my fear is that many of these companies have not tackled the root cause of their issues and are merely creating a cycle of uncontrolled expansion of and remediation for their IT assets over time.
One of the biggest roots of the problem, I propose, comes down to a fairly simple human principle: we aren't very good at tracking what we do on an ongoing basis, so when it gets complicated we abdicate the pain and let the process run itself. Or worse, buy software and consider the problem 'solved'.
Let's review a few of the things experts in other industries suggest we do to deal with our inherent inability to manage complexity:
- Finance: Write down the transactions you make, categorize them and at the end of the month/year review and adjust behavior to more closely match your desired outcomes and income level.
- Eating Habits: If you want to make lasting behavioral and structural change to the way you eat, write down each and every thing you eat, review it at the end of the month/year and adjust behavior accordingly
- Exercise: If you want to increase the likelihood you'll stick to that new exercise regimen you started last January start a workout log/blog/spreadsheet and track the amount of time you work out each week/month/year.
Automation of this activity certainly helps us become more efficient, but in the end its the actual act of writing it down, reviewing the data and adjusting our actions that makes this a worthwhile effort in itself.
If you are not taking the steps, as part of your IT asset remediation efforts, to adjust the process of writing down what happens with your IT assets at many of the touchpoints throughout its lifecycle and then reviewing that data for adherence to agreed upon operational goals, you are merely ensuring that you will never, ever get out of the process of remdiating IT assets within your organization - namely due to the notion that if you can do it for your assets at this moment, they are changing, morphing, retiring and being added anew again starting tomorrow.
Companies need to have the processes, people and technologies in place who care a lot about writing down all the nitty gritty details and then pulling detailed reports to tell you how you are doing.
Think about it from our customers' perspective: We're spending a lot of money and effort figuring out exactly what IT assets we have that they are paying us to manage - losing significant amounts of new product development time and causing unnecessary increases in downtime searching for rogue assets - not to mention spinning up huge internal IT projects, costing millions of dollars to enable us to track the assets we purchase and the things we do to them.