Succeeding with Next Generation Asset Management

In August’s column I wrote about next-generation asset management (NGAM), EMA’s term for a service-centric model for asset management. In this model service management, configuration management, compliance, change management and capacity planning are brought together from a dollars-and-cents perspective.

NGAM fits in fairly well with ITIL v3’s approach to lifecycle asset management, where asset management becomes dynamically integrated with service management values. In August I looked closely at the technologies associated with NGAM; a range of markets and sub markets that need to be approached more for synergies than for isolated, “cheese-stands-alone” investments.

The benefits to you can be manifold. These include insight into how and where and by whom your assets are being used in support of a service a business service. They include control in terms of more automation for compliance audits, change management and service provisioning, along with the control that comes implicitly with better informed decision making. And because the heart and soul of NGAM is asset management in support of the delivery, care-and-feeding, and retirement of a business service, superior business alignment―that elusive cliché―is also an emphatic NGAM benefit.

Free Your Mind

But as you may have already suspected, getting the NGAM job done isn’t just about purchasing some software, putting it on a server, letting it do its thing, and then going out for a beer. (Although I did recently have a conversation with someone who couldn’t understand why this wasn’t the case. Fortunately, he wasn’t a CIO.)

First and foremost, NGAM requires attention to process, organization and communication, as well as your ongoing commitment, like all (gulp) strategic initiatives. And like all strategic initiatives NGAM needs to be approached in bite-sized chunks to fit near-term objectives. It is not a binary state: “I’m doing it,” or “I’m not doing it.” Rather, it is a more enlightened mindset for how to define and solve problems involving costs and service management differently than they’ve been approached with traditional IT asset management.

As a way of getting started, it’s worth targeting some of the initiatives and actions that can shine with an NGAM approach:

Going Green

Green IT is of course not only good for business, it’s good for brand image and for the earth and for the rest of us, as well. It also happens to be an area where significant dollar savings can be achieved with the right level of commitment and attention to process. It can include such basic things as decommissioning unused systems (which requires being able to identify those unused systems in the first place), server consolidation, and setting policies for workstation and server utilization, to more complex areas such as automated power management, virtualization, utilizing thin clients.

Our research shows that about 57% of IT organizations in North America have initiated Green IT programs, which is a good thing because within the last five years, the amount of energy consumed by data centers in the has doubled. But, at the same time, only 56% of servers are still kept fully operational 100% of the time.

Workstations are even a bigger story. They account for 90% of IT power utilization (versus 10% of the data centers) at an average annual energy cost of $149.10 for a desktop and $23.26 per laptop. You don’t have to buy a thing to improve this situation (although better discovery tools to find and maintain inventory aren’t a bad investment). Just defining and enforcing power-on and power-off policies, or making sure your PCs are protected by programs such as Energy Star for automatic sleep and hibernation, can go a long way to saving money.