CIO Perspective Series: The Many Benefits of Technology Visibility
Knowing where your technology assets are, how people use them, who uses them, and how much that usage costs is the key to managing your IT estate effectively. Visibility into your technology investments helps you decrease risk, ease manageability challenges and drive informed decision-making. With so much change (and growth) across today’s hybrid workforce, however, gaining that degree of visibility is more challenging than ever.
In the latest episode of our CIO perspective series, Snow Software CIO, Alastair (Al) Pooley and I discussed the reasons why technology visibility and understanding of all your technology assets — or as we at Snow Software like to call it, Technology Intelligence — is so critical but achievable.
Reason #1: Security
Security is and will remain a top priority for organizations. Without eliminating technology blind spots, cybersecurity risk escalates exponentially. The opportunities for a data breach and noncompliance are much higher when you aren’t fully aware of the technology on which your organization relies. How can you secure something you can’t see?
Take SaaS as one example. The availability of SaaS applications has exploded in recent years, and employees are quick to try them under the premise those apps will help them get their jobs done faster and more effectively. To further spur adoption, the apps are often free for a time, easy to download and easy to start using. It’s easy to see why SaaS sprawl is such a challenge.
While simple SaaS implementation is a good thing, employees are often unaware of the associated risks, as in these scenarios:
- An employee uses personal, weak passwords to get into new SaaS applications, essentially bypassing any single sign-on authentications the company may have, and potentially giving hackers easy access to sensitive company information.
- An employee stops using a SaaS application obtained easily outside of IT. They have no assurance that the app’s management team will remove potentially sensitive company data and no way to know who might take advantage of it.
- A department purchases applications that are free for a time but runs a costly noncompliance risk once those free trials run out. No one knows how many department members are using the application, how they’re using it and whether the organization could optimize the app and use it across other departments.
Reasons #2 and #3: Reduce costs and boost efficiency
In addition to incurring security risks, you could also waste money and time without adequate knowledge of what’s in your IT estate. Visibility across all your technology assets, as well as the data obtained from that comprehensive view, enables you to optimize costs, eliminate unused resources and improve IT processes such as provisioning.
Here are some ways in which technology visibility can benefit your whole organization:
- IT benefits from clear guidance on which applications to support and which ones to remove. By leveraging that insight, IT can better partner with other business units.
- With the insight and data IT provides, procurement and finance can proactively right-size contracts and are better prepared for renewal negotiations with vendors.
- Insight enables IT to improve processes and better support digital transformation initiatives.
- Multiple departments can identify data monetization possibilities.
- IoT and AI projects can be mapped out strategically.
- With visibility and good data, the organization can make more informed decisions on a wide range of topics including in-source, out-source, or hybrid products and working styles and cost-effective vendor management.
The connection between visibility and great ITAM
The comprehensive visibility obtained via Technology Intelligence is a core benefit of strong IT asset management (ITAM), the set of business practices that enables organizations to better manage all of their assets, from software and SaaS, to hardware and cloud. Investing in ITAM enables critical business priorities including digital transformation, cost optimization, cybersecurity and operational efficiency.
Sometimes persuading your organization to invest in an exceptional ITAM program is challenging. Too often, it’s viewed just as an expense rather than as the backbone of an agile and efficient IT strategy for the organization.
If this is the place you find yourself in, we’ve got a guide to help you navigate the business case for ITAM. In Building the Business Case for ITAM, there are three steps for IT leaders that help you deliver a persuasive pitch, whether you are trying to launch an all-new program or you’re in need of investment in existing capabilities.